Bank of America Merrill Lynch

US lender pushes China expansion

Bank of America's ambition not dimmed by stake sale in China Construction Bank

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 September, 2013, 3:44am

Bank of America's decision to sell its remaining shares in China's second-largest bank does not appear to have damaged the United States bank's plans to expand its own business on the mainland.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the global banking and markets arm of Bank of America, is looking to build up its suite of mainland trade and supply chain finance products.

"Expanding our supply chain finance platform with innovative solutions and broader geographic reach is a critical element of our strategic goal of better connecting with our clients in China," said Cathy Dou, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's head of global transaction services in China.

Bank of America last week launched the sale of its remaining 2 billion H shares in China Construction Bank, looking to book a pre-tax gain of about US$750 million in the third quarter.

A significant improvement in the growth of mainland exports to developed economies was seen in July, with customs data showing exports to the US jumped by 5.3 per cent in July, compared with a 5.4 per cent decline in June. Exports to the European Union rose 2.8 per cent in July after falling 7.8 per cent in June.

Despite a slowdown in the mainland's economic growth, trade volume would still increase, said Liao Qiang, a senior director at Standard & Poor's,

Liao also said foreign banks occupied a niche position on the mainland, thanks to their strength in trade finance.

The US bank has recently introduced enhancements to its electronic commercial draft system and trade receivables finance capabilities and brought them to its branches in Beijing and Guangzhou. Its three branches on the mainland, including Shanghai, can now process electronic drafts.

The bank said such electronic solutions could facilitate domestic yuan draft settlements, offering a source of low-cost and short-term trade and supply chain financing to corporate trade clients.