9 min read

We chat to Deniz Güven, CEO of Mox Bank about vision, values and community

We chat to Deniz Güven, CEO of Mox Bank about vision, values and community

With more than 20 years in the banking industry, Deniz has dedicated his career to creating exciting new products and services. Mox is actually the second bank he’s built! With an aim to make Mox the bank with the highest heart share, it’s clear that innovation, growth and perseverance have shaped his journey and his mindset. To keep us inspired as we step into The Year of The Ox, Deniz is sharing his personal and professional advice for the new generation of leaders.

1. The world is changing rapidly, what do you think the rest of this year will bring?

I’m pretty optimistic about 2021 and beyond. We’ve seen how the pandemic has shifted behaviours. The “new normal” is looking more like “it’ll never be normal”. But Hong Kong is known for resilience and I know we’ll persevere and adapt to overcome challenges.

2. What human qualities do you see as most important for our generation?

Adaptability, communication and understanding. The past 12 months have shown us how important these qualities are. The ability to adapt can make or break an idea. On a business level, effective communication has the potential to inspire others, motivate a team and lead to results. On a personal level, it enables us to stay connected with our community, through hardships and success.


3. What’s one thing you’ve learnt that you’ll carry with you into the rest of 2021?

As we navigate through 2021, we need to find ways to help the people around us. It’s been a difficult time globally, and we could all be a little more communicative and empathetic. I'm constantly working to understand people’s mental states and their individual needs, especially through these challenging times. In business and in life, there’s no reason why we can’t help people along the way.

4. What are five of your top tips for people starting their own business or looking to stay inspired at work?
  1. Know your passion
    No matter what industry you’re in, being motivated is key. Your profession may change but passion is what drives you forward and keeps you going.
  2. Be open to change
    We’ve seen how quickly humans can adapt over the last year. It’s one of our biggest strengths.
  3. Be customer-centric
    In business, you have to think about your customer’s needs first. You can have a great idea and great technology but if the customer doesn’t understand it, it means nothing.
  4. Stay persistent
    Take small steps every day. Challenges will be there, but if you focus on jumping over hurdles, you can overcome anything. Look at problems objectively and remain solution-focused.
  5. Dream big
    My life motto is "small steps lead to big dreams". Stay focused on the big picture but remember that it’s the small, daily successes that get you there. With clear objectives, innovation and consistency, even the biggest dreams are within your reach.


5. Your journey has taken you across the globe. What attracted you to Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is an amazing place. It’s cosmopolitan and diverse on every level. People from all over the globe come together here. It’s the financial center of Asia and it welcomes us with many opportunities. I also love how convenient it is. You can be on a beach or on top of a mountain in 30 minutes. And without a doubt, a big part of Hong Kong is the food. I’ve tried as many cuisines as I can to get a sense of each different culture.

6. What advice would you give to people who hope to live overseas and develop their career one day?

No matter where you are in the world, it’s always important to try new things and step outside your comfort zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for a startup or a longstanding company, every opportunity is a chance to learn. Think of each organisation as a library – there’s an infinite amount to explore. And when you believe that learning has reached its peak, don’t be afraid to go out and try something new. Experiencing different markets, cultures and working models is how we become better team players and leaders.


7. Tell us about an obstacle that you were faced with in your life or career. How did you overcome it? What advice do you have for people going through a difficult time?

There was a time where one of the projects I worked on didn’t end well. We had high expectations, but in the end, the technology didn’t speak to the customer and we had to shut it down. It was a really difficult journey, but it taught me lessons that are still true today. If you’re going through a difficult time, it can help to think about what the challenge may be teaching you. You can overcome anything if you focus on the end goal.

8. What three tips do you have to stay motivated and inspired in your personal life?
  1. Prioritise your people
    Human connection is fundamental for a meaningful life. No matter how busy my day is, I videocall my son for 30 minutes every evening – even if it’s mostly for videogames! He’s living in Istanbul, so it’s become a way to stay connected with him whilst travel is restricted. It may seem like a small thing but my time with my son reminds me that it all comes down to connection, understanding and playtime. I carry those three things into my work.


  2. Make time for downtime
    Don’t lose sight of your hobbies and relaxation time. Anything that makes you feel more like yourself will support your wellbeing. You’ll come back to your work feeling recharged, inspired and creative. In my downtime I enjoy boxing, playing basketball, watching my favourite football team, Besiktas, play in Turkey, and exploring new parts of Hong Kong. This city has so much to offer – never stop exploring!
  3. Save and spend smart
    Money is not about new products, it's about habits and behaviours. Once you manage your money mindset, your spending changes, and your savings increase. Saving and spending go hand in hand. When you’re spending smart, you’re saving for your future. To me, financial empowerment is having a transparent view of my money and understanding that its value goes beyond a bank account. Money is a tool to help you live your best life – and that’s something we live by at Mox.


Remarks: The views expressed by individuals featured in this interview are the personal views of such individuals and do not necessarily reflect, and, should not be taken as the views of Mox Bank Limited.

19 Feb 2021
9 min read