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Premier extols pioneering virtues of late Chinatrust founder Koo Sr.

The China Post news staff--Premier Sean Chen said Chinatrust Group founder Jeffrey Koo Sr. was a pioneer of many innovative financial service products, contributing greatly to the upgrading of the nation's financial industry.

Chen made the remarks in Taichung when asked by reporters to say something about Koo, who passed away on Friday morning (Taiwan time) in the U.S. at the age of 80 after a battle with serious illness. Chen was in Taichung attending a lunch meeting of the Chinese National Association of Industry & Commerce (CNAIC).

Chen said that when serving at the financial sector in earlier years, he had heard a lot about Koo's strong work ethic and innovative spirit. “Koo introduced many innovative ideas and products to the financial service industry, and many lending businesses and customers were lured away by financial institutions led by Koo,” Chen said.

For instance, Chen continued, at a time when the government was yet to liberalize the credit card business for fear that the plastic money should trigger domestic commodity price inflation, Koo took the lead to launch credit card-based financial products to achieve the same purpose as done by credit cards, in the absence of the financial tools themselves.

At the same lunch meeting, CNAIC's Chairman Kenneth C. M. Lo said when serving as chairman of CNAIC from 1994 to 2002, Koo had been devoted to the promotion of Taiwan's economic and trade cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries, representing Taiwan at many international economic and trade conferences and contributing greatly in this regard. “Koo's passing is a great loss for the nation's industrial and commercial sectors,” Lo lamented.

Outside the meeting, Lo told reporters that he had developed very deep ties with Koo as they worked hand in hand all the way from the establishment of China Development Securities and China Trust and Investment to Chinatrust Financial Holding.

Lo said that he was most impressed by Koo's lessons in how to develop international financial vision. He told how Koo had taken him and their wives to travel around the world and visit many international financial institutions in the U.S. and Europe.

In related news, the Koo family will return the banker's body to Taiwan as soon as possible for a funeral and burial. His body has been relocated to the Frank L. Campbell Funeral Chapel in New York, where the remains of the late Madame Chiang Kai-sek were temporarily placed when she passed away in 2003. Koo died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

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The Frank L Campbell Funeral Chapel in New York is seen in this photo taken yesterday. The body of Jeffrey Koo Sr., founder of Chinatrust Financial Holdings, is being temporarily accommodated at the chapel before being returned to Taiwan.

(CNA)

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