Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Joseph Lu takes over as new Bank of Taiwan chief

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Joseph Lu (呂桔誠), the former vice chairman of the Commission of National Corporations, yesterday took over the chairmanship of the Bank of Taiwan (台銀), vowing to diversify the biggest state-run bank's business scope so as to compete with rival mega-banks.

"Before the plan of forming a financial holding company is formulated, our goal is to take full advantage of the bank's re-investment [financial] units to diversify its financial services," Lu told reporters after yesterday's take-over ceremony.

But he downplayed reporters' questions about whether the bank will pursue the goal of forming a financial holding company with other state-run banks.

After filling the vacancy left by Chen Mu-tsai (陳木在), who was appointed to head China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控) in April, 48-year-old Lu will be the youngest-ever chairman in the bank's history.

At yesterday's ceremony, Vice Minister of Finance Susan Chang (張秀蓮) lauded Lu as a senior banker who had worked at the Bank of New York, the Banque Nationale de Paris and KBC Bank NV before taking over the presidency of the Land Bank of Taiwan last June.

Chang urged the new chairman to quickly address the century-old bank's problems, including its heavy load of government-induced loans, excessive assets in the form of real-estate and re-investments.

Speaking in the capacity of acting chairman, former Vice Minister of Finance Yang Tze-kiang (楊子江) yesterday said that the bank has succeeded in acquiring an approval from the British financial authorities to upgrade its London-based liaison office into a branch, while the company expects to achieve 70 percent of its annual profit goal of NT$15 billion late this month.

He, however, added that the bank should make a greater effort to improve its direct-finance business performance and implementation of internal controls.

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