Sat, Nov 23, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Fubon HK unit gains, despite unrest

PROTEST POLICIES:Taipei Fubon’s unit has allowed some workers to arrive late, ‘but surprisingly most can make it to the office by 10am, a company executive said

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行) yesterday said that its unit in Hong Kong achieved double-digit percentage growth in net profit last quarter, although some corporate clients have refrained from taking out syndicated loans due to concern over political uncertainty in the territory.

The Hong Kong unit has been a lead bank for some syndicated loans sought by multinational corporate clients, Taipei Fubon general manager Roman Cheng (程耀輝) told reporters on the sidelines of an investors’ conference in Taipei.

However, the loans, which should have been realized this quarter, have been deferred to next quarter, as some clients voiced concern amid pro-democracy protests, Cheng said.

“With some of the lenders being from China, some borrowers thought it might be too sensitive to take out loans at this time,” Cheng said.

Like Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) and Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank Ltd (上海商業儲蓄銀行), Taipei Fubon’s Hong Kong unit has allowed some workers, especially researchers and analysts, to work from home for safety reasons, Cheng said.

“Safety comes first. We have told the unit’s management that there is no need for everyone to be there on time, but surprisingly most can make it to the office by 10am,” he said.

The unit’s profit in the July-to-September period rose 25 percent from a year earlier, and was steady from the first and second quarters, he said, adding that the momentum is expected to be maintained for the whole of this year.

Taipei Fubon’s unit in Vietnam posted faster growth, fueled by lending to Taiwanese firms expanding their business in the nation, as well as local firms, Cheng said.

Taipei Fubon’s overseas units reported cumulative net profit of NT$4.36 billion (US$142.9 million) for the first nine months, up 25.1 percent year-on-year. They accounted for 17.2 percent of the bank’s total profit, up from 14.5 percent a year earlier, corporate data showed.

With fund repatriation measures in August, the bank expects customers to deposit more than NT$30 billion, Cheng said.

Many companies are interested and have asked questions about fund repatriation, but the bank has not yet received any formal applications, he said.

Net interest margin, a critical gauge of a bank’s profitability, improved from 1.03 percent to 1.11 percent, Cheng said, adding that it might continue rising for the rest of the year.

Meanwhile, Fubon Financial Holding Co’s (富邦金控) insurance arm, Fubon Life Insurance Co (富邦人壽), saw sales of traditional life insurance policies advance 90 percent to NT$89.88 billion in the first three quarters as it paid more attention to the products, the insurer said.

It would decide how to adjust premiums for new policies next year after the Financial Supervisory Commission lowered interest rates on all policies by 25 basis points, making them less attractive, it said.

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