Tue, Dec 08, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Legislature turns down plans for state-bank merger

STAFF WRITER

The legislature’s finance committee yesterday rejected a rekindled merger proposal between Taiwan Financial Holding Co (台灣金控) and Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) on concerns of their overlapped business models.

The strengths of Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行), a subsidiary under Taiwan Financial, are the same as those of Land Bank, meaning that a merger with the state-run bank would not help create synergies, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Fai (費鴻泰) told reporters at the legislature.

The proposal, raised by KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), had recommended that the Ministry of Finance re-evaluate the feasibility of Taiwan Financial acquiring Land Bank.

The ministry first proposed the merger after a request by Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) that mergers of state-run banks be accelerated.

The committee, however, vetoed the proposal.

The ministry had previously planned to merge Bank of Taiwan, Land Bank, the Export-Import Bank of Republic of China (中國輸出入銀行), Bank of Taiwan Life Insurance (台銀人壽) and Bank of Taiwan Securities (台銀證券) into a financial holding company. But in November last year, the legislature decided to exclude Land Bank and the Export-Import Bank from plans to create a mega bank, which would be led by Bank of Taiwan.

Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) said yesterday that he agreed with the legislature’s decision to keep Land Bank — a mortgage lender — independent from the state-run financial service provider.

Lee said that Land Bank and Bank of Taiwan have different market niches and should therefore develop separately.

Also yesterday, the legislative committee gave Bank of Taiwan approval to raise its capital ceiling to NT$90 billion (US$2.79 billion) from NT$60 billion, giving the financial service provider more room to attract capital to fund future expansion.

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