Forging your own challenger bank: Mox (Standard Chartered)

Digital Reinvention
12/10/2020 Interview
profile picture of Deniz Guven

Deniz Guven

Mox Bank


Deniz Güven, CEO of Mox Bank Limited, explains how they are building a trust business with the future operating model in Hong Kong.

Why did your bank decide to launch a neobank/ challenger bank and how did it proceed?

The idea of Virtual Banks was first unveiled by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in September 2017, with the objective of ushering Hong Kong into a new era of smart banking and innovate the retail banking sector. License applications for virtual banking started in 2018 and licenses were awarded in 2019. We are among the first eight institutions awarded with a virtual banking license.

Despite the many retail banks here and online banking services available to consumers, there are still gaps in banking services that people need today. There is an underserved customer base in Hong Kong. Traditional banks today still operate more based on their terms, and less according to their customers’ needs. For example, opening a bank account is often a tedious process, requiring queuing up in a branch at designated hours with necessary documents. Many banks require a minimum amount. Transferring money from one bank to another or applying for a credit card will take a few days.

We started building our bank 18 months ago, from the moment we applied for a license. When we designed Mox, we had to rethink our business strategy for the mobile-first, digitally-empowered Hong Kong consumers. It has to start with listening to what customers want and what’s missing in retail banking in Hong Kong. We spoke with over 2,000 people and they all told us they want new and better experiences. They spoke of wanting savings and spending advice, based on their life stages, not how much they already have. They want advice to help them track and achieve their life goals. They want even better security and fraud monitoring in these times of e-commerce. They want more services and rewards out of their banks.

Based on these customer needs, we built Mox, together with partners HKT, PCCW and We worked closely with HKMA over the last 18 months. We launched the brand in March and we’ve started offering our services to selected external customers in April. We’re gathering more feedback as we prepare Mox for its public launch later this year.

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