The UK banking industry is exposing its customers to online fraud by failing to respond quickly enough to evolving security threats, according to an HSBC spokesperson.

Financial organisations are too slow to react to change and are even implementing security initiatives in regions such as South-East Asia before the UK, warned Karan Berry at the Guardian Graduate Recruitment Fair at Earls Court in London.

“The banking industry is taking security seriously, but here in the UK we appear to be reluctant to change and therefore slow to respond to the quick evolution of hacking attacks,” he said.

Berry revealed that all of HSBC’s personal banking customers in South-East Asia had received a key fob token to enhance the security of online banking. However, this system is yet to be introduced in the UK.

“We can expect this initiative to be rolled out to our personal customers some time in the foreseeable future,” Berry added.

In February, Nationwide was fined almost £1 million after a security lapse when an employee’s laptop computer was stolen. The device contained the financial details of thousands of customers and exposed them to the risk of identity theft.

Berry admitted: “Security breaches such as this are very damaging to a bank’s reputation. The competition within the financial services industry is so intense that rigid security structures must be put in place. The data that we store is so sensitive and confidential that security has to be a top priority.”