HSBC ‘Connection Hub’ Is Basically a Professional Dating Network For SMBs

HSBC, like many banks, is taking lessons learned from social media to heart.

With its new “Connection Hub,” small and medium business clients will be able to more directly and easily connect with each other, the bank announced yesterday.

The ‘hub’s’ structure resembles a cross between a professional networking site, such as LinkedIn, and an online dating service.

“You’ll be able to set up a profile for your business, including things like revenue, location, industry sector, and what industries you’re interested in,” Richard Davies, global head of propositions for HSBC commercial banking, told Bank Innovation. “The platform has a machine learning algorithm that helps match your business, helps connect the most relevant companies to that [business] user.”

Businesses connecting on the platform will then have the opportunity to start a “dialogue,” as Davies terms it, on whatever they like; though HSBC client managers will be aware of who joins the platform, conversations will remain private.

It’s an intriguing structure for an internal business forum, one that seems to borrow strategy and tools employed by many consumer-facing social media networks.

Right now, the “multilingual” hub is freely available—at least for HSBC business customers—for SMBs in eight countries, according to Davies, including Canada, China, India, the U.S., and the bank’s native United Kingdom. The bank will seek to expand that list later in the year, but for right now the focus remains on customer acquisition, says Davies.

“We’re bringing a lot more users on to the platform; that connectivity is very much our focus,” said Davies.

Davies added that the bank sees the platform expanding “frankly, a lot” over the next couple of years—so long as that all-important metric for social networks (i.e., user adoption and engagement) hits the expected levels.

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