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Jih Sun Bank gains 1st foreign foothold, opens branch in Hong Kong

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Jih Sun International Commercial Bank (日盛國際商銀), the banking arm of Taiwan-based Jih Sun Financial Holding Co. (日盛金控), opened a representative office in Hong Kong Friday, establishing its first overseas foothold.

The bank said its Hong Kong presence is expected to boost its visibility in the Greater China market and provide better services to its customers in China and Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong office will serve as a funding coordinator for Taiwanese investors operating in the Greater China market and provide assistance to Taiwanese firms in China that need funds, Jih Sun bank said.

In addition, the bank said, its first overseas office will offer its customers information about international syndicated loans and provide investment consultancy services.

With its Hong Kong presence, the bank said, it has set its sights on expansion in overseas markets.

Jih Sun Bank posted NT$697.06 million (US$23.14 million) in net profit for the first six months of the year, up from NT$691.51 million in the same period of last year, and earnings per share of NT$0.44.

As of the end of June, Taiwanese banks had established 26 outlets in Hong Kong, including 19 branches and two representative offices, according to Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC,金融監督管理委員會).

Profits in HK Sets Record

State-invested banks including Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐國際商銀), Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) and First Bank (第一銀行), all posted 30 percent-plus total profits in the first half contributed by branches in Hong Kong, with such percentages being the highest of its kind ever recorded.

Mega International in Hong Kong posted profits of nearly NT$800 million in the first quarter, equaling combined profits of its four branches in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley of the U.S.

Taiwan Cooperative Bank's (合作金庫) corresponding percentage stood at nearly 30 percent and Hua Nan Bank (華南銀行) at 20 percent.

Economic Daily reported cited sources familiar with First Bank to say that the bank's Hong Kong branch averagely scored profits of about US$2 million a month, with yearly profits of about NT$700 million. Last year Taiwan Cooperative saw its Hong Kong branch score profits of US$11 million, with H1 profits this year expected to grow 20 percent.

Analysts attributed such performance of Taiwanese banks in Hong Kong to the higher reference interest rates.

Generally loans offered by Hong Kong banks carry basic rate plus 300-400 basis points, much higher than the 150-200 basis points at banks operating in mainland China and 160-180 basis points in Taiwan. One basis point equals 0.01 of a percentage point.

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