BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Australia

Regulator approves ANZ Bank's $373mln China unit

Plans to set up 20 branches in three years as it targets stronger foothold in China.

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., Australia’s third-largest lender by market value, said it got approval from China’s banking regulator to become locally incorporated in the country.

ANZ Bank’s China unit, to be established on Oct. 1, will have 2.5 billion yuan ($373 million) of registered capital, the Melbourne-based lender said in a statement on Tuesday. The company aims to have 20 outlets in the country in three years, up from seven currently.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Smith’s expansion plan is partly designed to marry a shortfall in deposits at home with a surplus of cash in Asia. A stronger foothold in China would also bring access to borrowers and investors in the world’s fastest- growing major economy.

China opened its banking industry to overseas companies in December 2006, sparking a rush among foreign lenders to compete for the nation’s corporate and household savings, which reached $7.6 trillion in July.

View the full story in Bloomberg.


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