Acareer in the banking sector has allowed Chermaine Lai, Country Manager of Mashreq Bank Hong Kong, to live in seven different cities over the past 17 years. After graduating in Australia, she joined a global bank in 2001. “Since then, I’ve had amazing opportunities which led me to international banking roles in Melbourne, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Doha, Dubai and Hong Kong,” she said.
Lai joined the Dubai-based Mashreq Bank (PSC) in 2009. Established in 1967, it is one of the oldest financial institutions and the only privately owned bank in the United Arab Emirates, and provides a comprehensive range of services such as corporate banking, international banking, and treasury and capital markets. Mashreq now has a presence in 12 countries across Europe, the United States, Asia and Africa.
Lai has enjoyed the learning experiences of working in different countries.
“At Mashreq, I get to observe and adopt a very different approach to business, especially from a cultural viewpoint,” she said. This adaptability and results-driven mentality helped her to become Regional Head, East Asia, overseeing business development across the Far East.
She moved to Hong Kong in 2015 to helm the bank’s operation here, in addition to her regional responsibilities. “Hong Kong is certainly very fast-paced and the experience has been rewarding,” she said.
Mashreq first established a presence in Hong Kong in 1978, and has been steadily growing in recent years, in tandem with relations with the UAE. In 2017, total trade between the two economies was around US$10 billion.
“The Hong Kong office is strategically well-placed to support these trade flows by providing competitive financing structures,” Lai said, adding that the Belt and Road Initiative is also an area of potential business growth.
“As a Dubai-based commercial bank, our main objective here is to provide financial services in support of trade and investment flows between Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. HKGCC has been very effective in fostering dialogue between businesses, governments and trade organizations.”
For Lai, the opportunity to meet with other businesspeople including senior executives, officials and entrepreneurs at the Chamber’s networking events is also very useful.
“Those insights deepen my understanding of the business landscape in Hong Kong and Mainland China.”
Company: Mashreq Bank (PSC)
HKGCC Membership No.: HKM0569
Sign up for the latest news & offers.