The Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank, Ltd. (SCSB) was established in Shanghai in 1915 with the aspiration “to serve society, to support industry, and to promote international trade.” It is the premier choice for small- and medium-sized enterprises and is recognized for its efficient trade financing and remittance services.
Together with its subsidiary Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd. (SCB) in Hong Kong, SCSB manages total consolidated assets more than US$58 billion and capital more than US$1.3 billion, and has shareholder's equity more than US$5.5 billion.
We employ over 4,000 staff members and operate 127 branches worldwide. In Taiwan alone, we operate 69 branches and employ over 2400 staff, with another 3 branches in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, and 3 representative offices in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia. Through SCB, we operate 45 branches in Hong Kong and 7 branches overseas (Shanghai, Shenzhen, Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, London, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles).
SCSB and SCB partner closely with Bank of Shanghai in Mainland China to form what is known as the Three Shanghai Bank Alliance, with SCSB controlling ownership of SCB and SCB as a major shareholder in BOS. The Three Shanghai Banks have a strong cooperative relationship, strategically allying ourselves to provide the best cross-strait banking services in the Greater China area. Our alliance extends to shared credit card benefits and identical uniforms, to provide a seamless business experience between all three banks. No matter where customers are located in the Greater China region, they can enjoy the same quality service with “Three Shanghai Banks, all caring for you.”
SCSB is the only Taiwanese bank with a full Greater China network, and in 2002, it was the first bank in Taiwan to receive approval from the government to conduct direct remittances with financial institutions in China. The Bank handles the largest volume of remittances from Taiwan to China and, with its Shanghai Bank allies, is reputed to offer the “fastest possible remittance between Taiwan and China.”
SCSB's mission is to be “the best Chinese-operated bank in Asia Pacific,” by innovating and developing world-class financial services and committing itself to the highest standards of professionalism and management practices, always placing customer needs first.
SCSB enjoys a rich heritage and legacy of achievement. Established in 1915 under the leadership of Mr. K.P. Chen (1881-1976), the Bank's initial aims were to encourage savings and to accumulate social capital. It was one of the first independent privately held banks in China.
Compared with other private banks, SCSB's initial capital of 80,000 yuan was very small, and so the Bank was affectionately coined the “little Shanghai Bank.” Under Founder Chen's leadership, however, the “little Shanghai Bank” soon catapulted in growth to become the foremost private bank in foreign exchange and fifth-ranked commercial bank in China by 1934. Starting with only 4 employees in 1915, by 1934 the Bank had grown to 2,700 staff members and 111 branches across China.
Mr. Chen was a pioneer of modern banking practices. A graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1909 and one of the few bankers of his time trained at an American bank, he sought to bring the best of American banking management ideas and practices to China, emphasizing efficiency and business promotion. He also set up an educational fund to send staff members to the U.S. to learn the latest banking practices.
Mr. Chen recognized the importance of innovation, and he felt its spirit was essential to the heart of a modern, competitive bank. He was at times a contrarian, challenging the conventional wisdom and practices of his time. He emphasized long-term returns when others sought short-term returns. At a time when others shied away from servicing small accounts, he made them the cornerstone of the Bank's operations. In an effort to promote the idea of saving, the Bank developed and distributed “one dollar savings’ boxes” to the public. To encourage and facilitate the process of making deposits, counter to the practices of the time, SCSB accepted both cash and silver ingots and waived handling charges. The Bank was an early pioneer of small and medium enterprise financing. Through small-sum credit loans, individuals were given the means to finance small businesses and to address urgent personal funding needs for weddings, funerals, and education costs. Credit-based lending tools such as “rail negotiation loans” and “warehouse mortgages” served as alternative sources of funding for customers.
In addition to promoting savings, and securing and dispersing much needed financial capital, SCSB served as a conduit for remitting and exchanging money abroad. To address the needs of its customers wishing to conduct business abroad at a time when travel support networks did not exist, SCSB established a Travel Division in 1923 (in 1927 this became China Travel Service Co., and by 1936 it had over 100 branches worldwide). The Travel Division served as an important transport and foreign capital network for Chinese customers conducting business abroad. In addition to providing Chinese customers with on-the-ground travel and lodging support services, this agency issued remittances and travelers cheques, becoming one of the first platforms for foreign exchange operations in the region. The Bank was also the first to issue industry-specific loans such as “agricultural loans” and “salt industry loans” as well as one of the first banks to consolidate its teller services into a one-stop shop for customers in the 1930s. Integrated teller services were not available at other banks until 1977, when the (Taiwanese) Ministry of Finance mandated the “experimental branch system” to foster efficiency.
During World War II, SCSB played an important role in stabilizing the monetary system and raising funds needed by the Republic of China. Mr. Chen represented the government and played an important role in negotiating loan terms with the U.S., affecting the Silver Agreement of 1936, the Tung Oil Loan Agreement of 1939, and the Tien Tin Loan Agreement of 1940. After the war, under Mr. Chen's leadership, SCSB re-opened its head office in Taiwan, the only private bank from the Mainland to do so at the time. The Bank officially resumed operations in Taipei in June 1965 with total capital of $15 million New Taiwan Dollars and 29 employees.
In 1983, Mr. Hung-Ching Yung was appointed vice-chairman. In 1991, Mr. Yung succeeded Chairman Mr. Ju-Tang Chu, becoming the third Chairman of SCSB. Mr. Ju-Tang Chu had taken over after Founder Chen passed away in 1976.
Mr. Yung has been a dynamic force for SCSB, steering the Bank over the last two decades towards greater expansion and prosperity. Under Mr. Yung's direction, the Bank, which had espoused a rather conservative approach to management and business in the 60's and 70's, became reinvigorated with a new spirit of optimism and reinvention. As the economies of Taiwan and Hong Kong began to industrialize, Mr. Yung saw an opportunity for SCSB to play an important role in supporting this rapid growth. The Bank embarked upon a strategy of expansion and modernization, reinventing itself as a leader in SME finance and foreign exchange.
Over the last 30 years, the Bank has dramatically expanded its offerings and improved the quality of its services. We have formed partnerships with 1,400 corresponding banks worldwide and have aggressively set up ATMs machines and ATM centers, cyber-banking networks, and customer service phone centers, continually increasing the solutions we offer to our customers. In 1988, SCSB was the first to launch a campaign to partner with 7-11 convenience stores, increasing the number of 24-hour ATM access points for customers. The Bank was one of the first to see the opportunity for expanding an offshore business unit and to issue affiliate credit cards.
At the same time, the Bank centralized its functions, by developing operation centers and regional center systems, consolidating approval and processing centers, and streamlining operations. In addition, the Bank reorganized its functions into different business units: corporate banking, personal banking, treasury, deposits, trust, wealth management, and insurance agency departments. The Bank consolidated its foreign exchange business, in which it is still considered a leader.
In effect, the Bank modernized its operations and management practices, reaffirming its commitment to recruiting, developing and retaining top talent by implementing performance-based compensation systems. It also invested greatly in developing distinctive risk management systems. The Bank has always placed substantial emphasis on asset quality.
SCSB's efforts and successes were applauded by leading finance journals and rating agencies. The following years brought with them even more recognition, on both a domestic and a global scale.
Since its relocation to Taiwan, SCSB has been dedicated to promoting the fast growth of the financial industry in Taiwan and has contributed to Taiwan’s economic prosperity. The Three Shanghai Banks have endured the tests of liberalization and globalization and have faced the challenge of financial reform together. SCSB and the Three Shanghai Banks have never been more competitive, keeping pace with the times, seeking innovation, and reforming and restructuring to provide customers with innovative services and products and maximizing shareholders' value through modern and flexible operations. Today SCSB stands strong with the Three Shanghai Banks, enjoying an excellent Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR). Together, we are global and regional leaders in foreign exchange and trade finance.
As SCSB has undergone a rich and varied past, we will continue to deliver valuable and innovative services to our customers, along with our cross-strait allies. We remain committed to our core values and to continually reinventing ourselves to stay modern. As we were in 1915, SCSB is and will continue to be poised to seize new opportunities in a rapidly changing industry and world.