Tue, Oct 22, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Bank of Taipei to expand beyond Greater Taipei

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Bank of Taipei (瑞興銀行) plans to open a branch in Taoyuan by the year’s end as the regional lender seeks to grow its scale and clientele outside the Greater Taipei area, a company executive said yesterday.

The nearly century-old lender made known the ambition after adopting a new Chinese name, in line with a 2009 court ruling that its former Chinese moniker — (大台北銀行) — may be confused with that of Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富銀銀行), the banking subsidiary of Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控).

“Nearly 100 years after our establishment, we intend to expand beyond Greater Taipei,” the senior executive said on condition of anonymity by telephone.

The bank, set up in 1917 as a credit cooperative during Japanese colonial rule, will not rule out mergers and acquisitions to boost its economies of scale and profitability, the executive said.

Fibers Corp (新光人纖) chairman Eric Wu (吳東昇), the younger brother of Shin Kong Financial Co (新光金控) chairman Eugene Wu (吳東進) and Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) chairman Thomas Wu (吳東亮), controls a 33 percent stake in Bank of Taipei, making him the largest shareholder.

Under Eric Wu’s push, Bank of Taipei developed into a commercial bank in 2007 and was listed on Taiwan’s Emerging Stock Market (興櫃市場) later the same year.

“Our major shareholders are ambitious about the bank’s future development and are mulling buying larger peers to deepen its presence in the local banking market,” the executive said.

With NT$2.33 billion (US$79 million) in capital, the small lender currently limits its operations to 22 branches and outlets in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市).

Bank of Taipei posted NT$52 million in net income for the first half of the year, up 36.84 percent from NT$38 million during the same period last year on the back of improving interest and fee incomes, the executive said, adding that the first-half results translated into earnings of NT$0.22 per share.

The lender recorded NT$75 million in pretax income, the executive said, refusing to elaborate.

Bank of Taipei chairman Chen Shu-mei (陳淑美) told local media on Sunday that the lender aims to raise fund sales to 10 percent of its total deposits, sized at NT$49 billion, or accounting for 1 percent of market share.

Fitch Ratings Taiwan gave the bank an “A-” long-term credit rating with a stable outlook, given the lender’s healthy liquidity and asset quality, as well as sufficient capitalization.

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