Sat, Dec 18, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Local banks get operations licence for China branches

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Five Taiwanese banks yesterday won China’s approval to start operations of their Chinese branches, the Financial Supervisory Commission said in a statement on its Web site.

The financial regulator said First Commercial Bank (第一銀行), Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) and Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) now have licences to begin operations of their Shanghai branches.

The regulator said China also gave approval to Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) to start business at its Kunshan branch and to Taiwan Cooperative Bank’s (合庫銀行) Suzhou branch, the statement said.

The latest go-ahead for branch operations follows Beijing’s approval in September of applications from Taiwan’s Land Bank, Chang Hwa Bank, First Bank and Taiwan Cooperative Bank to set up Chinese branches. In October, Cathay United Bank became the fifth Taiwanese lender to gain Beijing’s approval for its Chinese branch application.

The news also came prior to the next week’s new round cross-strait talks on trade issues.

Prices of financial stocks yesterday rose 1.25 percent on average on the local bourse before the release of China’s approval news.

“Banks [shares] rallied on speculation that the industry might see consolidation and on reports several state run banks will get permission from Chinese authorities to open their first mainland branches soon,” SinoPac Securities Co (永豐金證券) said yesterday in a note.

First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), parent company of First Bank, rose 3.33 percent to NT$24.85 and Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), which owns Cathay United, edged up 0.43 percent to NT$46.4, while Taiwan Cooperate Bank was up 1.31 percent to NT$23.25.

The China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a statement on its Web site yesterday that the latest approvals to Taiwanese banks’ branch operations indicated progress in cooperation between banks on both sides.

The Chinese regulator said it hoped both sides can start to increase supervisory cooperation and maintain stability in the banking industries.

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