Fri, Nov 29, 2013 - Page 13 News List

First Financial bullish on fee income next year

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

State-run First Financial Holding Co (第一金控) said yesterday it expects a double-digit percentage increase in fee income next year driven by its strong wealth management business and offshore yuan transactions.

First Financial head of investor relations Annie Lee (李淑玲) gave the guidance during an online investors’ conference.

“We expect fee income to rise 15 percent next year on the back of stronger wealth management product sales as the global economy improves,” Lee said.

Meanwhile, First Financial expects to benefit further from its yuan-based operations as main subsidiary First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) plans to open one or two branches in China, allowing the lender to gain customers and business, Lee said.

More firms with operations in China may use the Chinese currency for trade settlement and carry out other yuan-denominated transactions, Lee said.

The bank-focused conglomerate expects to grow its loan books by between 4 percent and 5 percent next year, slightly better than the forecast for the nation’s GDP growth of 3.3 percent to 3.5 percent, Lee said.

That would help increase net interest margin by 5 basis points next year, Lee said.

First Financial shares closed up 0.56 percent at NT$17.95 yesterday, underperforming the TAIEX which gained 0.8 percent, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.

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