Wing Lung Bank opens branch in Bay Area

Updated: 2014-07-09 12:36

By Bonnie Wong in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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 Wing Lung Bank opens branch in Bay Area

Ma Weihua, chairman of Wing Lung Bank, gives the opening speech at the opening ceremony of Wing Lung Bank San Francisco Branch at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco on Tuesday. Bonnie Wong / China Daily

The Hong Kong-based Wing Lung Bank, which was established in 1933 and is now a subsidiary of China Merchants Bank, celebrated the grand opening of its San Francisco office at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco on Tuesday.

As the second overseas branch of Wing Lung, the San Francisco branch will team up with the Los Angeles office, which was opened in 1984, to play an important role in developing business in California and the US for its parent company.

In 2008 amid the international financial crisis, China Merchants Bank (CMB), China's sixth largest bank, decided to buy the 81-year-old Wing Lung Bank given its strength and capability, and is using it as a strategic platform for overseas expansion, according to bank senior management.

After six years of integration, Wing Lung currently is in good shape, said Ma Weihua, chairman of Wing Lung Bank, adding that opening the San Francisco branch is an important step of CMB for its globalization move as Chinese banks have to embrace the international financial market. "This is irresistible," Ma said.

Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco, applauded Wing Lung's decision of setting up an office in the Bay Area and beyond.

Wing Lung Bank made the correct and important strategic decision by setting up the San Francisco branch, said Yuan Nansheng, Chinese consul general in San Francisco.

As more Chinese enterprises expand to the US, Chinese banks are eager to follow.

In 2011, Bank of Communications (BOCOM) announced the opening of its San Francisco branch. Currently about 70 percent of its customers are Chinese enterprises operating in the US. Different from other banks, BOCOM offers its unique renminbi(RMB) services which include deposit, wire, loans, and holding RMB accounts at the bank which enable individuals outside of China to have better control over their RMB investment.

In 2012, the US Federal Reserve approved the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd's (ICBC) acquisition of a majority stake in the American arm of Bank of East Asia. China's biggest bank became the first Beijing-controlled financial institution to acquire retail bank branches in the US. ICBC now has 10 branches in California.

(China Daily USA 07/09/2014 page2)