Michael Chang (
"I am here to revamp the bank, not to sell the bank," Chang said at the handover and inauguration ceremony yesterday. "I have communicated this to the bank's union to make my stance known."
Chang, 57, said he will neither lay off employees nor sell the bank directly, or indirectly.
No sale planned
"Mergers are not my area of expertise," he said, adding that Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (
Chang took up his position at Polaris Financial Group late last month after leaving as chair at the Bank of Overseas Chinese (
The government, which has a 41 percent stake in the bank, last month attempted to auction off its shares as a part of a plan to consolidate Taiwan's crowded banking sector.
The government plans to halve the number of state-owned banks to six by the end of this year.
But the share sale prompted strong opposition from the bank's union, which staged a four-day strike, said to be the first industrial action in the nation's finance sector, which reportedly scared away the most likely buyer, E.Sun Financial Holding Co (
Chang, a banker who is a certified public accountant, was praised by the Ministry of Finance for his success in revitalizing the then debt-ridden Bank of Overseas Chinese (
Chang's appointment sparked market speculation that he might attempt to continue the sale of the bank by introducing new shareholders through a recapitalization approach, but he denied this yesterday.
He said his priority is to improve the bank's assets quality and tackle its bad-loan problem.
"The method that worked well at the Bank of Overseas Chinese will not necessarily suit the Taiwan Business Bank," he said.
If the bank really needs recapitalization, the scale will be small, in light of the bank's abundant paid-in capital of NT$42.8 billion, compared with the then ailing Bank of Overseas Chinese's NT$11.8 billion, he added.
Therefore, this would not cause a shift in the bank's management but, at most, would lead to one position on the bank's 15-seat board being given away, Chang said.
In response, Lin Wan-fu (
"The union will call a strike again if the sale resumes," Lin said.
Looking forward, Chang said he hoped the bank would become more innovative and design novel and differentiated financial products like bank insurance and securitization products.
"We may look for partnership with overseas financial institutions for this purpose," Chang said, "but we do not have any specific objects for the moment."
The bank's shares yesterday closed unchanged at NT$8.82 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.