The first step on the European market
China Everbright Bank
China Everbright Bank (CEB), which was established in August 1992 and headquartered in Beijing, is a national joint-stock commercial bank approved by the State Council of China and the People's Bank of China.
As at the end of the reporting period, the Bank has formed a nationwide network with 1,119 branches and outlets covering 115 economic center cities of 30 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. Following the "go global" strategy, the Bank accelerated the pace of setting up overseas institutions. Its Hong Kong branch Seoul branch and CEB International Investment Corporation Limited have already started operation, and the establishment of CEB (Europe) S.A. and CEB Luxembourg branch opened in 2017. It is the first and only institutions of CEB Group incorporated in Europe. The Bank was ranked No. 46 in the "Top 1,000 World Banks" by the Banker, a U.K. magazine, in 2016, rising by 11 places over the previous year. ??
With continuous reform and innovation in optimizing its products design, channel development and service models improvement, the Bank forged a strong competitive edge in its major product and business lines such as asset management, investment banking business, e-banking and credit card business. Therefore, the Bank has achieved a balanced growth of all business lines, with improved risk management and enhanced innovation capabilities.
Over the years, along with the evolution of the Chinese economy and the growth of theChinese financial sector, the brand image and market value of the Bank have grown steadily. The Bank has achieved a good performance while providing high quality financial services, and is now a well recognized listed bank with sound compliance. CEB employs 27 people in Luxembourg and 58 600 worldwide.
Interview with Zhang Wei, General Manager.
What projects are you currently working on?
As a newly established institution in Europe, our priority is to work through each line of the internal management further enhance internal policies and business procedures as well as foster company culture. After starting our business in July and August 2017 in Luxembourg, we have been focusing on enriching and improving the quality of internal business policies and procedures continually according to the bank's business activities. To steadily advance the construction of overseas institutions through prudent compliance management is the strategy adopted by the CEB Head Office for its overseas expansion. As the Bank's only and first overseas institution in Europe, we uphold the principle that compliance management shall be implemented through each stage of our business development, since it guarantees a healthy and sustainable development for the bank.
However, compliance management does not mean tedious and redundant business procedures. We aim optimise the procedures in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency under the compliance radar. In a nutshell, we want not only to ensure that all the business operations are compliant but we also want to provide best customer experience. Our employees are from different countries all over the world and previously worked for different companies. The team cohesion and corporate cultural construction are as important as the business aspects. After half a year closely working together, the team is gelling better and has formed a deeper mutual understanding around a well-recognized corporate culture. We need to maintain the trend and make efforts for an even better cooperation in the near future.
What successes are you particularly proud of?
Since 2011, China Everbright Bank has started to plan and implement its overseas institution development strategy. After five years, the Bank has achieved initial success in terms of overseas institution establishment. After the Hong Kong branch, the Seoul branch and the CEB International, the CEB Europe and CEB Luxembourg branch opened on 8th September, 2017. The establishment of CEB Europe was very important, because it represents a key step for CEB worldwide expansion. CEB now has its own institutions operating in Europe.
China Everbright Bank is a large bank in China. Many of the bank's customers are doing business globally. The bank used to provide cross-border business services through cooperation with other overseas financial institutions, but after the establishment of the European entities, we can cater to our customers both domestically and internationally by ourselves with more integrated, comprehensive and diversified financial services. The China Everbright Group, which is the mother company of the Bank, has showed a strong interest in overseas projects, especially in Europe.
Since 2011, the Group has invested in several European projects such as a Photovoltaic Power Plant in Germany, the Tirana International Airport Albania, MP&Silva, the largest sport broadcaster in the U.K. as well as NOVAGO - Poland's largest solid waste treatment company. Our customers and entities within the Group can now explore their overseas business opportunities with the help and support of CEB Europe and CEB Luxembourg Branch, acting as their gateway to the European market.
What are the biggest challenges your sector is facing?
We just began to set sail on the European market last year. Although we are new and young in Europe, we are not on our own, unguided. Back at the preparatory time when applying for the establishment of the subsidiary and Luxembourg branch, we received a lot of support from many parties, including government bodies, such as Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Foreign affairs, etc. as well as the guidance and assistance from local regulators - CSSF and BCL. Other entities, for example LFF, ABBL, the Chamber of Commerce along with local financial institutions also provided great support to us. As the newly set-up entity of CEB, which holds quite an important position in CEB's strategic plan, and also as the new comer to Europe, we are facing many opportunities and challenges, such as the corporate governance we apply to improve and better the management framework, the strategy we implement to explore business opportunities and the way we use for more effective team buildings, just to name a few.
The biggest challenge for us is to blend quickly into the local society, firstly by understanding local regulations thoroughly and converting them into practical and effective implementations; secondly, by setting up the banking system and framework in accordance with international standards; thirdly, by making the most of Luxembourg's strategic position and advantages as one of the top financial centers in Europe to provide our customers with quality financial services; fourthly, by ensuring that all the bank employees respect the local culture and follow the local market rules and to better cater to the local needs of our clientele.
Despite all the mentioned challenges, we are confident that with our diligence, dedication and determination, we will work to clear the obstacles standing in the way and have a healthy and smooth development for the bank.
If you could change one thing about your sector, what would it be? How could the Chamber of Commerce support you?
The Chamber of Commerce provided us with a lot of valuable advice and strong support to establish our two entities in Luxembourg. It also systematically informed us about relevant details of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as well as connected us with the competent authorities to complete our projects. For some very specific requests, the Chamber of Commerce went the extra mile. We would like to express our gratitude to the Chamber of Commerce in this regard. In a near future, we will need more support in terms of employee recruitment and staff trainings, because finding people who are multi-talented and with more comprehensive working experience is difficult.
CEB at a glance
1992: Formal establishment of China Everbright Bank
2013: CEB listed in Hong Kong stock exchange
2016: "The Top 1000 World Bank 2016" released by the British magazine "The Banker" ranked CEB as 46th in the list. The total assets of CEB in that year exceeded 4 trillion RMB
2017: Opening of the CEB (Europe) and CEB Luxembourg Branch - the first and only institutions of CEB Group incorporated in Euro
Photos: Pierre Guersing