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BoCom Names New President After Four-Month Vacancy

Established in 1908, Shanghai-based BoCom is known as China’s first national commercial bank. Photo: VCG
Established in 1908, Shanghai-based BoCom is known as China’s first national commercial bank. Photo: VCG

Bank of Communications, China’s fifth-largest lender by assets, got a new president four months after the post was left vacant.

Ren Deqi, a former vice president of the Bank of China, was named BoCom’s new president Monday, filling the post after former President Peng Chun was named the bank’s chairman in February, Caixin learned.

As one of the largest state-owned commercial banks following the “big four” — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Bank of China (BOC), China Construction Bank (CCB) and Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) — leadership at BoCom is appointed by the ruling Communist Party’s Organization Department.

Ren’s appointment will take effect after completion of certain administrative procedures, sources close to the bank said.

Ren, 55, has spent more than a decade at CCB, mainly in the bank’s risk control operations. In 2014, he was named vice president of BOC, overseeing investment management, financial markets and retail banking.

BoCom, which is listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai, has undergone a major leadership reshuffle this year. Its former chairman, Niu Ximing, resigned in February for health reasons and was replaced by Peng. The president’s position has since remained vacant.

Established in 1908, Shanghai-based BoCom is known as China’s first national commercial bank after a restructuring in 1987. The bank operates 235 domestic branches and 21 offices in 16 countries and regions. It controls seven subsidiaries engaged in insurance, financial leasing, investments, fund management and other non-banking financial services. It is also a major shareholder of seven city commercial and rural banks.

But BoCom has also been increasingly squeezed by the big-four players and expanding smaller rivals such as China Merchants Bank and Minsheng Bank. In 2014, BoCom proposed a reform plan to invite private investors to pioneer the central government’s pilot of mixed ownership reform and gain a new competitive edge, but the reform plan hasn’t delivered any concrete progress since approved by the State Council in 2015.

As of the end of March, BoCom had total assets of 9.3 trillion yuan ($1.5 trillion), including 11.2% of overseas assets. The bank’s quarterly revenue declined more than 10% year-on-year to 49 billion yuan while net profit rose 4% to 200 billion yuan. The bad loan ratio was 1.5%. A report by BOC International warned that BoCom is facing rising investment costs and pressures on the loan business.

Last month, BoCom said it planned to issue 60 billion yuan of convertible bonds to improve its capital adequacy.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

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