OCBC Bank has deepened its ties with its associate, China's Bank of Ningbo, in order to tap growth in the huge banking markets of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.
The Singapore lender inked a 10-year strategic cooperation agreement with the Chinese financial institution last Thursday.
The bank yesterday outlined its plan to "deepen collaboration across a broad range of business areas, intensify knowledge sharing and scale up staff training". "This initiative accelerates the efforts of both banks in growing their businesses and serving the onshore and offshore needs of customers in China's Greater Bay Area and South-east Asia," it said.
The Greater Bay Area refers to an economic development project involving Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, meant to rival bay areas such as those in Los Angeles, New York and Tokyo Bay.
OCBC first bought a 12.2 per cent equity holding in Ningbo Commercial Bank in 2006. In 2014, it raised its stake in the financial institution - renamed Bank of Ningbo in April 2007 - to 20 per cent, the maximum allowed in China.
Under the agreement, the two banks will work with each other to tap business opportunities in areas such as corporate banking, treasury, investment banking and wealth management, said OCBC. "To promote greater understanding of the opportunities, risks and regulations in the Greater Bay Area, the agreement provides for knowledge sharing by way of regular dialogue, training and employee secondment."
OCBC will provide a US$5 million (S$6.8 million) training grant to support training initiatives involving Bank of Ningbo's employees over the next 10 years. Bank of Ningbo will cover expenses for OCBC employees trained in China.
"Over the last 10 years, OCBC has supported Bank of Ningbo's growth through a structured training and development programme that covered areas such as consumer banking, treasury and risk management," said OCBC, adding that it has benefited from local market knowledge and insights.