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BRANCH BANKING | Tony Chua, Taiwan

Hua Nan Bank seeks to acquire Chinese Banks

The Taiwanese lender is keen on the move after signing cooperation pacts with Mainland banks.

Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd., which has been one the most aggressive Taiwanese lenders in expanding in China, said Tuesday it has shortlisted some Chinese banks, including Fujian Haixia Bank Co., for a possible stake purchase.

Hua Nan Bank, the banking arm of state-controlled Hua Nan Financial Holdings Co. (2880.TW), in September hired a consultant to evaluate a proposal to buy a stake in a Chinese bank.

"Fujian Haixia Bank is one of the banks we are looking at," an official from Hua Nan Bank said. "We are still exploring other options and no target has been pinned down."

Any deal would likely be among the first direct investments by a Taiwanese lender in a Chinese bank since Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission relaxed rules on such investments in September.

Since the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement was struck between Beijing and Taipei in mid-2010, Hua Nan Bank has signed cooperation pacts covering information exchange and staff training with Bank of China Ltd., Bank of Communications Co. and Fujian Haixia Bank.

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