We are excited to partner with FintechOS to produce a report on digital-first SME banking. As part of the report, we interviewed SME banking executives from top financial institutions across Europe. This interview is one from a series of four interviews. To dive deeper into the world of digital SME banking and the transformation that is underway, be sure to access the full report here.
How has your service model/value proposition evolved within the last 18 months?
We are investing billions of dollars a year in technology and digital transformation to make banking simpler, safer, and more personalized for our customers around the world. Our business customers are innovating and adapting at pace and the COVID-19 pandemic has been an additional catalyst for that.
What are your key digital initiatives and what benefits are you looking to generate from them?
Everything we do starts with the customer in mind and how we can make their lives easier. We want to satisfy the changing needs of those small businesses who are turning to digital channels and have a growing desire to self-serve. We don’t want to just keep up with customer demands, but be one step ahead and able to anticipate their future needs. This includes putting more of the bank in customers’ pockets, by enabling them to manage their finances on their smartphones whenever and wherever they want.
We are committed to supporting small businesses manage their finances and access the support they need to thrive and grow. It’s our ambition to redefine and re-invent business banking for SME customers in the UK, to do this we have recently launched HSBC Kinetic, a new mobile business banking service designed to help SMEs manage their finances 24/7 from their phone. HSBC Kinetic provides an agile, flexible, and responsive banking service that empowers small businesses to make quicker, more informed decisions on their day-to-day financing wherever they are.
HSBC Kinetic was developed using insights from over 3,000 small business owners, who told us they need a digital bank that helps them stay on top of their finances and understand what actions to take based on what their finances are telling them. Since we first began testing HSBC Kinetic, we’ve kept close to our audience by asking users to complete an on-boarding survey and are using the results to continually feed, test, and evolve our features list and roadmap.
What are the challenges as a more traditional institution in creating more digital offerings as opposed to a fintech that starts out as digital on day one?
Our competition comes not only from traditional high street banks but also market challengers, who have brought great innovation to the market. The space is big enough for fintechs and big banks to coexist. We’re open to partnerships with fintech players and globally, we are investing in advanced technologies, and collaborating with cutting-edge technology organizations to improve the bank and develop the future of finance.
How do you see yourself competing with the fintechs and challenger SME banks in the years to come?
We are focused on making HSBC Kinetic the best solution in the market for small business owners that truly meets their evolving financial needs, so we have tried to pick the best elements from both worlds. We wanted the same can-do attitude as start-ups, to be agile and move at pace. We also took a lot of inspiration from the market, using a toolkit approach, which allows SMEs to plug and play. It will also continue to evolve – for instance we will be launching Small Business Loans later this year.
HSBC Kinetic combines the extensive banking expertise and infrastructure of HSBC with an innovative digital approach to offer the best possible business banking experience for small business customers. It combines the agility of a fintech with the backing of a global bank that can support businesses through every stage of their growth.
We believe that by combining a challenger bank mobile experience with the brand of a high street bank gives us a unique position in the marketplace. HSBC Kinetic is a truly mobile-first app that can offer small businesses the benefits of a digital first banking proposition combined with all the reassurances associated with being a part of an established bank.
We are always looking for ways to improve our digital offering and meet the varied needs of our customers and there is certainly opportunity to increase the range of digital services in the market. We are looking to provide as broad an offering as possible so that our customers can select the solution that best supports their needs.
Thanks to our size and scale, HSBC UK can provide SMEs with a suite of banking solutions so all they need to do is choose the one that is best for them. HSBC Kinetic is just the newest addition to this suite – one that is tailored to our more digitally-native customers who are getting their small businesses up and running, and want to do so quickly, easily and in the smartest way possible.