Bank of Beijing plots nationwide expansion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 October, 2007, 12:00am

Bank of Beijing, the Shanghai-listed city commercial lender, has set its sights on transforming itself into a countrywide diversified financial company but will keep its base in the capital city.

Chairman Yan Bingzhu said his bank aimed to build a strong brand and expand into other parts of the country to provide different financial services.

'This is in line with the development of the country and the growing financial needs of the people,' Mr Yan said in a media briefing last night.

The lender, which now has one branch each in Tianjin and Shanghai, planned to add two more branch offices outside of Beijing next year, he said.

The mainland banking regulator said in April it would allow the country's 114 city commercial banks to expand their businesses nationwide, a move that will strengthen their competitiveness and boost their attractiveness to investors.

Bank of Beijing also indicated that it would expand into rural areas and develop trust and insurance businesses.

The lender was in talks on co-operation with insurance companies and foreign partners but Mr Yan declined to give further details.

'Our aim is not to become the biggest bank, but the best bank,' Mr Yan said.

Bank of Beijing and Bank of Ningbo are the first city commercial lenders to list in the stock market last month in a move to fund expansion.

The bank was 'very interested' in a Hong Kong listing, but there was no timetable, Mr Yan said.

Despite its expansion plans, president Yan Xiaoyan said the bank would remain based in Beijing.

'Bank of Beijing's development is closely tied to the business environment in Beijing,' the president said.

Meanwhile, management said the bank was hit by Beijing's policy to cool lending growth, particularly in home loans.

Bank of Beijing had total assets of 272.7 billion yuan at the end of last year and a capital-adequacy ratio of 12.87 per cent. Net profit rose 27 per cent to 21.4 billion yuan last year.