2022 Winner – Standard Chartered Taiwan Recognized for looking after their diverse staff & as best retail bank – Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards



Standard Chartered (SC) Bank Taiwan (TW) won the Best Retail Bank: Taiwan trophy at the RBI APAC Awards 2022 and gained two other wins in the Best Advance in a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative and Best Benefits, Wellness and Well-Being categories. The Taiwanese unit of Standard Chartered (SCBTW) is focused on its local customers and overseas clients, becoming the first to get approval from the local regulator for a Signature Witness and Document Verification (SWDV) service that allows those that are abroad to open accounts in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.

Its digital ‘Global Link’ also allows clients to view deposit and investment account information while in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other places, via the Standard Chartered digital channel. This means the bank is accessible to them everywhere they go, at any time.

SCBTW also fully digitized the recent government support and Covid-19 bank relief programs offering interest-only and payment holiday solutions to individuals and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) business owners, thereby making it easier, and socially distanced and safe for customers and employees. A digital SME Loan platform was also unveiled for sole proprietors to make their banking easier.

Covid-19 has meant the number of clients visiting branches has decreased by 23% since 2019, and the average monthly number of transactions in branches has fallen by 15%. The pandemic merely exacerbated the existing digital trend, however, which was already evident in retail banking. SCBTW accelerated a number of digital tools in response, such as:

  • SCB x PChome Supply Chain Financing digital solution: launched in partnership with Taiwan’s largest electronic e-commerce group, PChome, this tool offers end-to- end application. It relies on application programming interfaces (API) to send and receive data and provides a digital way to easily get finance.
  • Online Mortgage appraisals: this platform makes it easier for individuals to get finance for a quick mortgage.
  • MyRM: the My Relationship Manager (RM) app was introduced to Taiwan in 2022 to improve two- way communication with clients in the mass affluent, wealth management (WM) area, which is a key growth segment for SCBTW. The segment has contributed 6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last five years.

The bank has created an over-arching one-stop-shop online platform that allows customers to digitally apply for credit cards, personal loans, and deposit and trust accounts. Mobile payments can also be accessed as part of its digital transformation, alongside online funds, foreign exchange (FX) investments, and so on.

Currently, over 90% of financial transactions emanate from digital channels and there has been a 150% growth in personal loan applications via the ever-growing digital channel. A 20% growth in the number of clients conducting mutual fund transactions digitally has also been observed and online FX transactions now account for 80% of the total.

People are also crucial to SCBTW’s on-going profitability and growth. Its efforts in these areas are aligned with its technological advances thanks to a new group-wide SCB Discover digital learning platform, which 83% of Taiwanese staff have accessed and 50% are active learners on.

Well-being accolade

Work from home (WFH) and flexible hours strategies have helped to improve well-being at SCBTW and better serve customers who couldn’t visit a branch during the Covid-19 outbreak, or increasingly just expect an ‘always-on’ approach that apes their own digital adoption. A Future Workplace Now (FWN) policy was formally adopted last year after the pandemic disruption to formalize these new ways of working. It seeks to encourage autonomy and connections between staff, while still supporting collaboration, innovation, and knowledge-sharing after successful or failed interactions or projects. FWN, which was underway anyway as a project before Covid-19 fully hit to work out how the blurred lines between home and office life in the 21st century could best be accommodated into work practices, prioritizes

  • Client-centricity: to ensure work practices can respond quickly to client needs.
  • Productivity: and enhanced client experience (CX) comes by being willing to challenge the status quo, innovate and learn from failure.
  • Disruption: as Covid-19 showed, highlighting how some preferred working from home, embracing disruption can be beneficial. The aim is to positively channel this energy into a good work / life balance and embrace disruption in all areas – whether that be customer service, WFH tools, software development and fintech partnership approaches, and so on.

The FWN policy means employees now have an ‘Early Off’ stipulation as opposed to the previous ‘Early Home’ arrangement that allowed staff to choose one day a month when they could finish working early at 4pm.

Additionally, the presumption now is that a flexible working location and/or flexible time will always be the starting point of a conversation, under a refreshed standard that outlines where a role can and cannot be performed remotely. A one-time home office set-up allowance is also on offer to existing employees with approved flexi-contracts to ease any transition. For new hires, the Unmind digital platform offers content and training, plus practical toolkits are available via the upgraded Employee Assistance Program.

Among eligible employees, 90% of staff by Q4 2021 now use flexible working. For those long-term staff that perhaps cannot apply it, due to role restrictions or are unable to adopt the change, there are plans for an annual review mechanism to see how FWN ‘new norms’ might be accommodated.

A new head office building, for those who cannot WFH, has activity-based spaces for learning and collaboration, meeting rooms, wellness zones and a ‘hot desk’ approach to seating.

Diversity trophy

A Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Taiwan well-being taskforce assisted those in the office, or at home, during World Mental Health Month with 40 engagement and learning activities, and community tasks that adhere to the group- wide SC D&I team’s four over-riding pillars, promoting mental; physical; social; and financial well-being. The mental health event was one of many such initiatives that won the Taiwanese D&I team recognition at the RBI APAC Awards 2022 – others included a World Day for Culture Diversity. This had an online poll that invited staff to share interesting and beneficial experiences of culture shock.

There is a local D&I online platform and associated newsletter in Taiwan, plus an e-learning program to encourage inclusivity and battle unconscious bias. Social media posts have also been deployed, alongside invited speakers from Google, Unilever, and others at an 1800-strong D&I Forum that discussed advocacy in this area. Femail representation was high at the event, with 69% attendance. A speaker from Galerie Ovo was also present as they have adhered to SCBTW’s diversified supplier initiative, which seeks to spread the D&I agenda beyond the bank’s own boundaries. A subsequent survey has shown that 91% of local staff agree that “everyone is treated with respect at work”.

Supported by the country management team (CMT), the D&I Taiwan unit was formed with 28 representatives from 12 different business units and functions. The group-wide SC aim is to drive commerce and prosperity through diversity and support for:

  • LGBT+ inclusion: this was demonstrated by a SC Pride video made in collaboration with Facebook and the LGBT+ Hotline The Taiwanese bank’s benefits program for partners was also made available to same-sex couples well before legislative changes in this area.
  • Disability equality: being a disability confident organization that removes barriers to provide accessibility and opportunities to all is a key aim, buttressed by educational drives.
  • Gender Equality: is also supported and actively encouraged at SC and its Taiwanese unit.

Leave days are available to staff volunteering, and fathers can participate in maternity periods. The benefits of inclusivity are therefore clearly spelled out to employees in terms of their own well-being, but also the future well- being and profitability of the bank.