Taiwan banking: E.Sun aims for the stars
It is unusual for a Taiwanese bank: owned by foreign institutional investors rather than bankrolled by a tycoon or controlled by the state, it’s also on a roll, investing heavily in digital and expanding fast around Asia… but can it last?
It isn’t easy to get to see Joseph Huang. Not because the president and chief executive of E.Sun Commercial Bank, probably Taiwan’s most altruistic and ambitious lender, isn’t available or indeed affable – he’s both.
At first, the challenge involves getting beyond E.Sun’s eager gatekeepers. Chiwei Hsiao, head of investor relations, is hovering at the front door of the bank’s headquarters in the heart of Taipei, full of bonhomie. He shepherds Euromoney through the lobby for a prolonged tour of a row of ATMs.
“All of our 138 branches have at least one foreign currency cash machine,” he says proudly, wafting a hand at the whirring beasts, which dispense cash in Japanese yen, Chinese yuan and Hong Kong and US dollars. “No other domestic bank offers this kind of comprehensive service.”
The declaration hangs in the air, inviting the inevitable question.
“I don’t know why the others don’t,” he responds, then hesitantly suggests: “Laziness?”
The next stop is the bank’s VIP centre on the first floor, complete with a baroque grand piano and a statue by Edward Eriksen that emulates the sculptor's bronze incarnation of the Little Mermaid, which sits elegantly on a rock in Copenhagen harbour.