Unfazed by a global economic slowdown, two state-owned financial holding companies yesterday announced plans to hire more workers this year to bolster their retail banking operations.
Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控) chairman Michael Chang (張兆順) said that the conglomerate plans to add 600 employees this year to support its consumer banking business.
The banking-focused company presented its plan last year and there still is ample room for improvement, Chang said.
Mega Financial has focused on hiring legal compliance professionals after being fined by US financial regulators for compliance failures at its US banking branches in 2016 and last year, he said.
The situation has stabilized, as evidenced by Mega’s improved earnings ability, Chang added.
Net income reached NT$28.2 billion (US$915.32 million) last year, a 9.5 percent increase from 2017 and the best performance in three years, with earnings of NT$2.07 per share, Mega Financial data showed.
Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行), which generated 85.87 percent of the holding company’s overall profit, aims to hire more consumer banking employees to make its retail banking business as big a contributor as corporate banking — its key profit driver, Chang said.
“This balanced approach is both important and urgent, as low interest rates and excessive competition are putting pressure on the profit margin in corporate banking,” Chang said.
Interest on foreign-currency loans has dropped significantly as the US Federal Reserve has raised its policy rates, he said.
The loan-to-deposit ratio slid to 50 percent for the group’s foreign currency operations last year, but the business could improve this year, as the Fed could ease the pace of monetary tightening amid a global slowdown, Chang said.
Mega Bank cannot expect to stay competitive by sticking to its old strategy, he said.
The lender would place more emphasis on mortgage operations and wealth management, he said, adding that it can find new clients for financial services from existing savings accounts.
State-owned Bank of Taiwan (BOT, 台灣銀行) said that it plans to hire 200 to 250 employees this year to add new blood to its payroll.
The retirement of the baby boomers started to affect the local financial industry last year and the trend could last for another four years, Bank of Taiwan chairman Joseph Lyu (呂桔誠) said.
It is important for the Bank of Taiwan to nurture new talent to meet its expansion needs in foreign markets, no matter how the US-China trade dispute evolves, he said.
The bank also needs professionals to help grow its mortgage operations by NT$200 billion this year, Lyu said.
The Bank of Taiwan reported NT$11.35 billion in pre-tax income last year.
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