Wing Hang Bank is expected to complete its integration of Chekiang First Bank within 18 months, according to the lender's chief. Chairman and chief executive Patrick Fung Yuk-bun said the bank, which last week completed the purchase of Chekiang First Bank, had begun to integrate the smaller lender into its business. Wing Hang would focus on integrating the two banks' computer systems, with their branches and internal departments following the shift, Mr Fung said. 'The end-point of the integration is that there will be one bank, one brand name, one computer system, one staff, and one group of customers,' he said. 'We are also in the process of interviewing the department heads.' Mr Fung conceded that there would be some redundancies from overlapping positions. As a result of the branch consolidation, other workers were likely to be redeployed to help Wing Hang expand its retail network. Wing Hang Bank will also seek to legally formalise the merger through the Legislative Council. The mid-tier lender in August announced it would acquire the rival bank for $4.8 billion. About $1.1 billion has been paid in the form of dividends from Chekiang First Bank to former owner Mizuho Financial Group, while the balance was settled in cash. The bank is reinvesting Chekiang First Bank's excess liquidity into its treasury operations to gain higher yields and realise revenue synergies. Separately, Mr Fung said the bank was interested in further developing its fledgling private banking business. 'As far as services are concerned I think private banking is an area that I would like to focus on,' he said. Mr Fung said Wing Hang would explore opportunities to manage the wealth of high net-worth individuals. Wing Hang Bank, Hong Kong's sixth largest lender, has appointed AT Kearney as a consultant for its integration with Chekiang First Bank.