Quick Take: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Canada)

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the world’s largest bank by market cap. It serves over 219 million customers.

In Canada, ICBC operates as a schedule II bank.  It officially launched on July 2, after acquiring 70% of the assets of the Bank of East Asia in January.

Industrial-and-Commercial-Bank-of-China-Canada

Ming-Qiang Bi, Chief Executive Officer of ICBC’s Canadian operations, explained ICBC’s mortgage model. Here’s a summary:

  • Core strength: “We are a large Chinese-based bank with a global network,” says Bi. “ICBC has strong brand recognition in China and the most advanced IT platform there. Many of our mortgage customers have ties to China and have banked with us before.”
  • Target client:  “ICBC caters to mostly Chinese from the mainland or Hong Kong, or new immigrants here. We will probably not change the focus. Local clients are welcome but we don’t think of that segment as our advantage.”
  • Market share goals:  “We don’t expect a big increase in market share as we are a very small bank in Canada.”
  • Expected growth:  “We prefer to maintain single digit growth rates each year.”
  • Mortgage types:  Conventional mortgages only. When asked if ICBC will offer high-ratio mortgages, Bi said the bank has “No plans at this time.” ICBC Mortgages…
  • Mortgage rates:  “We have preferential rates for existing clients. Clients may discuss with a relationship manager.” (ICBC doesn’t advertise or post its discounted rates on its website.)
  • Broker plans:  ICBC has no plans to enter the broker channel at this time.
  • Upcoming plans:  “We have a lot of infrastructure to replace—like our IT system—in order to provide full-featured banking for transactions from China to Canada.”

Here is a related Financial Post story on ICBC from earlier this year.

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