Wed, Dec 24, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Cross-strait financial easing urged

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter, in GREATER TAICHUNG

Bank SinoPac (永豐銀行) chairman Paul Chiu (邱正雄) yesterday called on the government to step up its efforts in talks with China to relax restrictions on the financial sector by excluding it from stalled service trade negotiations.

Chiu’s remarks came the day before Financial Supervisory Commission Chairman William Tseng (曾銘宗) is to lead a team to Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart in a bid to help Taiwanese insurers, banks and brokerages expand their presence in China.

The meetings are to be held from today until Saturday.

“It is worth a try to open discussions about the possibility of separating regulatory easing for the financial services sector from the talks over a service trade agreement with China,” Chiu, a former vice premier, told reporters after a groundbreaking ceremony for a building for food and agricultural safety inspection at Greater Taichung’s National Chung Hsing University.

The lender has donated between NT$250 million and NT$300 million (US$7.87 million and US$9.44 million) to finance the building’s construction.

More people support the deregulation of the financial industry for cross-strait development compared with other sectors, Chiu said, adding that both governments should consider independently lifting the restrictions on financial services providers.

Bank SinoPac — a banking arm of SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (永豐金控) — last year announced plans to sell 20 percent of its shares to China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC, 中國工商銀行), which would allow the lender to use ICBC’s extensive network to serve customers in China and across Southeast Asia.

However, the deal will not make any real progress until the cross-strait service pact, which is still stalled in the legislature, takes effect.

Chiu said that growth in the output value of the nation’s service sector — including the financial services industry — has lagged its competitors over the past few years, which may hurt the nation’s economy over the long term.

In related news, Bank SinoPac opened two branches in Greater Taichung yesterday, with one also located at the campus of National Chung Hsing University, focusing on offering more e-financial services targeting students and young clients.

“The new branch fulfills the concept of virtual and physical integration service, with the company not ruling out opening more branches with a similar idea in the future,” said Ting Chen (陳亭如), Bank SinoPac’s head of electronic banking and integrated marketing.

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