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Chinatrust Commercial Bank

Goldman Sachs

Chinatrust Financial Holding

As Taiwan's overbanked market starts to undergo much-needed consolidation, the Taiwanese government is aiming to develop a few regional banking champions. Top of the list of candidates will be Chinatrust Commercial Bank, Taiwan's ninth-largest bank by assets but probably its best managed, and the winner again of the best bank in Taiwan award.

Chinatrust is a full-service retail and corporate banking business with a leading position in retail finance, especially credit cards, as well as debt financing. The bank reported net income for the financial year ended 2004 of $214 million from total assets of $34.8 billion, a sign of just how competitive the market is. Its return on average assets was just 0.69%, but this was well above the Taiwan average and the bank reported return on equity of 10.13%.

As the bank points out, however, the final quarter of 2004 was depressed by one-off provisions against a recent consumer finance acquisition and the first quarter's results in 2005 showed that normal service had resumed, with a return on assets of 1.49% and a return on average equity of 24%.

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