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Asian Banks – Leading the Way to Recovery

by Karen Fawcett, Group Head, Transaction Banking, Standard Chartered Bank

Operating in Asia for over 150 years, Standard Chartered Bank has witnessed first-hand many economic cycles in the region. As Asia emerges from the latest financial downturn, Karen Fawcett, Group Head of Transaction Banking at Standard Chartered, highlights the rewards the region’s banks are reaping from lessons learned during previous financial crises and suggests how international banks can compete in this new environment. 

At the Nikkin conference in Tokyo late last year, I gave a speech to an audience of Japanese bankers on the state of Asian banking, focusing on the remarkable turnaround experienced by the sector across the region. Considering their geographical proximity, Japanese banks have a relatively small presence in Asia – something the bankers stressed that they were trying to rectify. Yet, when answering their questions afterwards, it was reinforced that while entering the Asian market offers huge opportunities, it also poses great challenges – especially given the resilience shown by the region’s local banks during the economic downturn. Indeed, we can go as far as to say that the Asian banking sector has had a very successful crisis.