One hundred years ago, a group of young Hong Kong businessmen had a vision for a bank that would serve the real needs of the local business community. Hong Kong was a thriving entrepôt, with growing opportunities for local entrepreneurs. However, local businesses were often unable to obtain support from Western banks and traditional money-lenders.
The Bank of East Asia was founded to serve the needs of this emerging business community. Starting from this commitment, our Bank has grown to become one of Hong Kong’s leading financial service groups, offering a full range of banking, insurance and investment services to businesses and individuals, locally and overseas.
The vast social and economic changes that Hong Kong has experienced over the past century are reflected in our own growth and evolution. In the early decades after our founding, we continued to focus on business services. Moving into the 1950s and 1960s, we greatly expanded our local branch network and established ourselves as a leader in consumer banking. We were the first bank in Hong Kong to offer a Hong Kong dollar credit card, and the first to connect all local branches by computer.
As China’s economy took off in the 1980s, we expanded our presence in the Mainland, laying the foundation for our position today as one of the leading foreign banks in China. As Hong Kong residents emigrated overseas, we established branches in the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada to help them maintain their links to Hong Kong and find their way in their adopted countries. We also established a robust branch network in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Macau. Just as on the day of our founding 100 years ago, our focus is local, our capability is global.
We credit our success to our dedication to our mission, to ensure that every customer experience is positive. We want our customers to know that we have their best interests at heart, and that we can help them make the best financial and investment choices for their long-term benefit.
To this end, we continue to innovate. Just last year, we completed the transformation of our Hong Kong branch network into the first fully digitalised local banking network.
We are committed to the communities in which we work. Knowing the value of investing, we have long recognised the value of investing in education for our young people. Our charitable work has focussed on improving educational opportunities, whether directly through scholarships or through support of youth activity groups. We have been proud to see those whom we support learn from the experience and in turn give back to their communities.
As we reflect on the past 100 years, we also see our future; we are a home-grown Hong Kong bank and, like the city we call home, we capitalise on business opportunities globally, serving our customers near and far. Looking ahead, we will maintain our strong sense of purpose to serve our community, and ensure a positive experience for every customer, as we strive to achieve our vision of being the trusted and preferred banking partner in Greater China and beyond.