Hong Kong online banks to spread wings, offering business loans and wealth management

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By Alun John
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s new online-only banks plan to venture into business lending and wealth management, seeking more lucrative avenues beyond basic savings accounts and transfer services, senior executives said.
Eight such banks started this year and as of November had taken more than $1 billion in deposits and attracted nearly 300,000 customers.
Whether these banks can take significant share from Hong Kong stalwarts such as HSBC and Standard Chartered and become profitable is being closely watched in other Asian markets where regulators are also encouraging new challengers.
ZA Bank, operated by a unit of ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co Ltd, has set itself the goal of breaking even in five years. It aims to branch out beyond personal loans to lend to small and …

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