OCBC to push for growth in Greater Bay Area
Despite the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, OCBC Bank said it will be pushing ahead with its plans to grow in China's Greater Bay Area.
Chief executive Samuel Tsien said last Tuesday the bank is on track to reach its target - previously cited as $1 billion in profit by 2023 - for the Greater Bay Area, which comprises 11 cities, including Hong Kong.
"Greater China (including the Greater Bay Area) will continue to be our largest market outside Singapore," he said.
He added that the bank's profit before tax from the Greater Bay Area grew from $551 million in 2017 to $605 million last year.
Of its profit before tax, 54 per cent comes from Singapore while 19 per cent comes from the Greater China region, comprising hubs in Shanghai and Beijing, and cities in the Greater Bay Area.
Loans in the Greater Bay Area increased from $42 billion in 2017 to $45 billion last year, with the bank eyeing a target of $80 billion by 2023, Mr Tsien said.
He added: "China will continue to be a major economic force for this part of the world, so a lot of economic activities will be driven out of China to other parts of our franchise.
"We believe we will be able to capture (the in and out flows)."
The bank's operating profit from Greater China has more than tripled from $476 million to $1.63 billion between 2013 and last year, with OCBC's acquisition of Hong Kong lender Wing Hang Bank in 2014 propping up profit.
The bank's customer base has also increased 19 times from about 28,000 to more than 545,000, Mr Tsien added.
OCBC, which is Singapore's second-biggest lender, also has operations in Malaysia and Indonesia, among other countries.