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Overseas lenders bank on mainland

OVERSEAS banks are boosting the number of branches and extending operational hours on the Chinese mainland, with some even opening on Saturdays for the first time, despite the economic fallout in overseas markets.

After operating on a trial basis, Singapore's DBS, Southeast Asia's biggest bank, will officially open an outlet in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, today.

"The financial crisis has hit the global economy. But the fallout won't stop our network expansion in China to reach more clients," said Stanley Ku, head of consumer banking of DBS Bank (China) Ltd.

DBS on Monday opened a branch on Sichuan Road N. in Shanghai while Citibank opened an outlet in Hangzhou on Wednesday.

Another Singapore bank, OCBC Bank, said yesterday that it now operates on Saturdays at its four outlets in Shanghai and Chengdu following the practice of its domestic rivals.

Hong Kong's Bank of East Asia has been open on weekends and offering services for retail clients since August - the first overseas lender to do so. Twenty of its 64 outlets on the mainland operate on weekends, offering banking services like deposits and wealth management. The overseas banks offer consulting services on weekends.

They have also incorporated locally to gain full access to individual clients.


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