China prepares to take over its first bank inside the U.S.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The ripples of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the U.S. are still being felt. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, or ICBC is launching the first Chinese takeover of a bank inside the United States. That is, if the deal's approved.

Marketplace China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports.


ROB SCHMITZ: Chinese offshore oil company CNOOC's bid for U.S. oil giant Unocal? Failed. Chinese appliance maker Haier's attempt to purchase Maytag? Ditto. So what are the chances ICBC's bid for a little-known U.S. retail bank will crash and burn, too?

WILL HESS: Given the spectacle of failed acquisition attempts in the U.S. by Chinese firms in the past, it's pretty unlikely ICBC would've taken this move without at least a wink and a nod from bank regulators.

That's Will Hess with economic advisory firm China Analytics. ICBC is the world's largest bank. It wants to buy 80 percent of the U.S. division of the Bank of East Asia. Never heard of it? That's exactly why ICBC may stand a chance with Congress as it seeks the Fed's approval. If the Fed says 'yes,' the $140 million deal will give ICBC ten branches in California and three in New York. It'll also mean a much-needed buyer for a bank that's been drowning in its own cesspool of sub-prime mortgages.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...