Coronavirus: Taiwan’s E.Sun prepares for the worst but hopes for the best
The chief executive of Taiwan lender E.Sun, Joseph Huang, tells Euromoney that banks are responsible for helping not just customers but the whole of society, as Covid-19 pushes countries into lockdown.
It’s a world turned upside down. If banks were begging in 2008 to be bailed out, in 2020 many are asking what they can do to help.
That’s certainly the case with E.Sun Commercial Bank, one of Taiwan’s most outward looking private-sector lenders, with 28 branches in nine countries, including the US, Australia, Singapore and Myanmar.
“In times of stress and distress, financial institutions should leverage capital and resources, and use them to stabilize society by injecting liquidity into the market,” says E.Sun’s chief executive Joseph Huang. The industry should provide “assistance to companies in the greatest need,” he adds. “It’s time for banks to make a positive impact.”
Soon after Covid-19 emerged as a threat in January, the bank – and the island – went on alert. The SARS outbreak of 2003 killed dozens of people in Taiwan and it wasn’t going to get caught short again. The government ramped up screening efforts and directed industry to make millions of facemasks.