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Changing Face of Global Banking

June 2006
Changing Face of Global Banking

India and China, the two rising powers in Asia have received much attention in recent times and have been discussed extensively in several forums. Ms. Pin Pin Chau, CEO of Summit Bank Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary The Summit National Bank, presented an interesting perspective of International banking mainly in relation to these two fast growing economies at TiE's April meeting.

An accomplished and highly educated banker, Ms. Chau is one of a handful of women CEOs of public companies in Georgia. She has served on many public and educational boards including gubernatorial appointments to economic and finance boards for the state of Georgia. She was the recipient of the Shining Star award from the Atlanta Women's Foundation in 2000. Ms. Chau's brilliance, knowledge and humor were evident when she touched upon three main causes that are impacting international banking, namely changing faces of players; changing regulations and changes in technology and telecommunications.

Giving a historical perspective of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 that started in Thailand and spread to other SE Asian nations, she said. "China's cheap labor, Taiwan's manufacturing know-how, Hong Kong's savvy in international finance and assorted Chinese Diaspora is bound to be a formidable economic force.

She also spoke in detail about the growing trade between India and China which resulted in signing of a bilateral trade agreement in 2005. She touched upon the need for increasing globalization of banking and financial infrastructure due to the fast growth rate and actions taken by both countries. She mentioned that both countries have a bad asset problem and elaborated on the changes in regulations introduced by China since 2003.

Not only is trade growing between the two countries but also globally and with this increase arises the need for efficient communications systems. She said ,"technology plays a critical role in facilitating communication and paperless transactions and first attempt to employ current technology to add efficiency to international trade did not come from banks, it came from international trade cards which, developers hoped would serve as trade credit cards and improves efficiency but these did not receive much support."

She also talked about Swift and Bolero the two closed systems and their adverse impact on community banks. Further she explained her vision of an open system that would allow negotiating a deal anytime, anywhere "if they have a closed system, I want an open system that will enable players to participate and I do not intend to take away anybody's income I only want to provide a platform for international trade, participation and sharing of common set of data so that they could get on with what they need to do." She then related her efforts and perseverance to obtain authorization from her board to develop such a system which she finally did.

She ended with a note on the unique capabilities of her bank and exhibited strong resolution and confidence in the success of her bank despite the bigger players in the market. She quipped among much laughter, "you thought you have a banker this evening who you can ask for money but you don't know this banker is also hoping for money."

Once again the April monthly meeting was an attempt by TiE-Atlanta to address the financial aspects of entrepreneurship by bringing bankers and entrepreneurs together said Chand Akkineni, President who had earlier welcomed the audience.

--Shubhangi Pandit

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