China Launches First National Bank In A Decade

Bohai Bank, the first nationwide commercial lender to be created in China in a decade, opened this weekend, shrugging off decades of politically influenced lending in the country. The bank has already made public its plans to expand its reaches

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Bohai Bank, the first nationwide commercial lender to be created in China in a decade, opened this weekend, shrugging off decades of politically-influenced lending in the country. The bank has already made public its plans to expand its reaches across the country with the aid of shareholder Standard Chartered.

“As an entirely new lender, Bohai Bank does not have any historical burdens,” China Banking Regulatory Commission vice-chairman Tang Shuangning said during the launch ceremony. “It should make full use of that advantage.

Bohai Bank, of which Asia-focused Standard Chartered owns nearly a fifth, would start out in the market around its base in the northern port city of Tianjin before venturing into eastern and southern China, the bank said in a statement.

Tang went on to applaud the bank’s potential role as a catalyst for banking reform in China, saying so in a statement on the regulator’s Web site.

Bohai Bank marks also the first time that a foreign player has helped set up a Chinese lender, more evidence that Chinese markets are slowly continuing to open its financial markets to foreign investors, making good on its promise in 2001 to the World Trade Organization to do so.

Standard Chartered nominated Bohai Bank’s vice-chairman, its deputy chief executive officer as well as its credit risk officer. It also secured three out of 15 board seats.

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