Thu, Apr 19, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Standard Chartered boss eyes growth

CROSS-STRAIT MARKET:Ajay Kanwal said the more than 100,000 Taiwanese firms with operations in China were potential customers for the British banking group

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Standard Chartered PLC’s local unit aims to strengthen corporate lending and help Taiwanese firms expand in Greater China, where the British banking group already has a well-established service network, newly installed president and chief executive Ajay Kanwal said yesterday.

“With support from a strong team, I’m confident in continued growth here” after pre-tax profits gained 81.21 percent last year to a record NT$9.87 billion, from NT$5.45 billion in 2010, said Kanwal, who took over his new duties on March 13.

Kanwal joined Standard Chartered in 1992 and served in several posts as a consumer banking executive in Southeast Asian countries Thailand, Philippines, India and Singapore.

He said Standard Chartered Taiwan would deepen its services to small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for 97 percent of the nation's business sector.

“Small firms need sufficient working capital the most and the bank will let customers know what they can get within the shortest time possible,” Kanwal said.

With 80 percent of its 89 branches outside Taipei City, Kanwal said Standard Charted has a geographical advantage for development, while most of its peers concentrate on their presence in the capital.

The banking group, which employs more than 80,000 workers in more than 70 nations, also has experience and knowhow in helping big and small firms alike plan cross-border expansions, Kanwal said.

Overseas expansions have accelerated since Taiwan signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China two years ago and they may grow even faster in coming years, he said, adding that more than 100,000 Taiwanese firms with operations in China are the bank’s potential customers.

Asia generated 70 percent of the group’s overall revenues last year at US$17.64 billion, up 10 percent from a year earlier, with net profit jumping 11 percent to US$6.78 billion, company data showed.

To meet growing demand for international financial services, the Taiwan unit is planning to provide training programs for its 4,000 employees, with opportunities to work in offices overseas, Kanwal said.

A native of India, Kanwal said he is learning to speak Mandarin, which would make his job easier.

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