Fri, Dec 03, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Taishin Bank plans MOU with East West Bank China

By Crystal Hsu and Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporters

The board of Taishin International Bank (台新銀行), a subsidiary of Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控), yesterday approved a plan to sign a cooperation memorandum with East West Bank China Ltd (華美銀行) to pave the way for its expansion into the Chinese market.

The Taiwan lender said it would ink the memorandum as soon as the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) gives the go-ahead.

Taishin Bank is the second local lender proposing to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Shanghai--headquartered bank in a week. On Nov. 24, Ta Chong Bank Co (大眾銀行) announced a similar financial deal with the Chinese subsidiary of East West Bank, a Chinese-US bank in California serving consumers and businesses in the US and Greater China.

With expectations of increased cross-strait financial exchanges, financial stocks gained the most among major sectors on the main bourse yesterday, up 1.29 percent compared with a 0.77 percent increase on the TAIEX, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

“Financials gained on news that the Chinese government will allow Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行), First Commercial Bank (第一銀行), Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行) to start banking operations in China,” -SinoPac Securities Corp (永豐金證券) said yesterday in a client note.

The four Taiwanese banks won regulatory approval to open branches in China in September.

Meanwhile, the central bank said yesterday in a statement that it, the FSC and the Mainland Affairs Council were studying a proposal from state-run Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐國際商銀) to sell yuan--denominated traveler’s checks.

Financial shares also attracted investors’ interest because of their improving asset quality, strong momentum in earnings growth and low valuation, Primasia Securities Co (犇亞證券) said in a separate note.

During the first 10 months of the year, domestic banks posted NT$156.3 billion (US$5.08 billion) in pre-tax profits, which was higher than the previous peak of NT$155.4 billion recorded in 2004, according to the latest figures from the FSC.

The overall non-performing loan ratio of local banks dropped to 0.73 percent last month from 0.78 percent in September, while the coverage ratio rose to 135.83 percent from 128.91 percent, indicating signs of improving asset quality, the FSC said on Tuesday.

“Backed by this strong bottom line performance and with a positive 2011 outlook, we see the current valuation of 1.3 times price-to-book ratio for domestic banks as undemanding,” -Primasia said, adding that investors should load up on more financial shares whenever they see pullbacks in prices.

Shares in First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), parent of First Bank, rose 4.59 percent to finish at NT$22.80 and Chang Hwa Bank added 3.23 percent to close at NT$22.35. Shares in Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控) gained 1.18 percent to end the day at NT$21.5, while shares in Taiwan Cooperative Bank fell 0.22 percent to NT$22.85.

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