China seeks local incorporation of foreign banks

March 6th, 2008 - 9:13 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, March 6 (Xinhua) China’s banking regulator said Thursday it would continue to push for the local incorporation of foreign banks. The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) also urged locally incorporated foreign banks to set up independent risk control, accounting and IT systems to prevent overseas risk overflow, separating them from parent banks and still remain Chinese branches.

The regulator will “pay close attention to the branches and subsidiary institutions of the subprime-affected foreign banks, and take more prudent supervision measures,” a CBRC statement said.

Foreign banks have been growing steadily in assets, profits, deposits and loans. Outstanding non-performing loans were reduced by $45 million year-on-year, said the statement.

In total, 21 of these banks - including the Standard Chartered Bank, the Bank of East Asia and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp - have been allowed to transform their Chinese mainland branches into locally-incorporated banks registered on the mainland by last year.

Among them, six have been approved to provide renminbi services and five will be able to issue bank cards.

Since foreign institutional investors were first allowed to invest in Chinese banks starting in 1996, 35 overseas banks have acquired stakes in 23 Chinese banks with a total investment of $21 billion by October last year.

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