Restart: Sir David KP Li from The Bank of East Asia explains how his organisation’s enterprise model responded to the problem of COVID-19.
The well being and security of staff and prospects got here first for The Bank of East Asia when COVID-19 broke out earlier this 12 months. The SARS outbreak of 2002/2003 influenced the bank’s response, shaping its pondering round planning for a pandemic.
“We sadly lost one of our employees to SARS,” says Sir David KP Li, Govt Chairman. “I did not want to see that happen again. So, we worked hard to anticipate what we would need if SARS ever returned.” This 12 months that preparation paid off. When COVID-19 broke out, the bank had ample provides to distribute face masks to its complete workforce of greater than 9,800 employees.
The bank additionally responded by arranging work-from-home and split-team operations for all departments to be able to scale back alternatives for an infection whereas sustaining most providers. “At the peak of the crisis, we also closed a number of our branches,” says Sir David.
“COVID-19 tested the bank’s defences to see if we could safeguard our employees and customers while sustaining our daily operation,” he displays. “I would say that three factors were key to our effective response: our human resources strategy, our digital capability and our risk management function. All are fully resourced, both in terms of funding and personnel. These areas have been priorities of mine for some time.”
Lots of the measures introduced in to forestall an infection are nonetheless in impact immediately. “We continue to check the temperature of every person entering a branch and provide hand sanitiser for their use,” says Sir David. “And they must wear face masks.” The bank is grateful prospects have willingly cooperated to maintain themselves and others secure.
The bank is dedicated to measures resembling additional enhancing its on-line banking, which has boosted its productiveness throughout the disaster. “We intend to constantly improve our ability to serve customers remotely as well as in person,” says Sir David. “And we will integrate new solutions that serve this purpose as and when appropriate.”
The pre-pandemic funding in on-line and cell banking providers paid off. The bank skilled a significant enhance in digital transactions because the pandemic worsened. On-line wealth administration transactions rose by 45% 12 months on 12 months throughout the first quarter, for instance. On-line bank card transactions rose by 30%. Sir David believes the overall pattern in direction of digital banking will proceed. This, in flip, will assist to drive the event of latest fintech options.
The bank additionally supported the Hong Kong authorities’s Particular 100% loan Assure scheme, which helps SMEs. “By the start of June, the bank had received more than 1,500 loan applications and more than 320 applications had been approved,” Sir David says.
The bank’s risk-management perform additionally conducts common stress assessments, which have been very efficient because the pandemic escalated. “The tests alerted us to problem areas, and we took immediate action,” says Sir David. “Our modelling proved to be very sound, and we anticipated emerging issues so that they could be dealt with effectively.”
He provides: “COVID-19 also proved the effectiveness of our emergency response team, which integrates numerous departments and pulls together resources to address emergencies such as a pandemic. A post-emergency evaluation is now being carried out to see how our response can be further improved.”
The Bank of East Asia just isn’t assuming that the COVID-19 disaster has handed – and even that the worst of it’s over. “Now that everyone is back in the office, we are preparing for the next time,” says Sir David. “We have surveyed all departments to update our remote work contingency plans – for example, we plan to purchase more tablets to provide a secure connection to the bank’s email system.”