Local lender Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) is applying to the mainland authorities to set up a branch on Hengqin Island, the Portuguese bank’s executive director Ronald Kan Cheok Kuan said on Thursday, adding that BNU was also in discussion with the University of Macau (UM) about opening a branch on its new campus on the island.
Kan made the remarks on the sidelines of a press conference for the launch of the “BNU UnionPay Triple Currency” credit card, at Grand Lisboa.
“We are applying to set up a branch on Hengqin hopefully next year. That is to support Macau industries that moved across the border,” Kan said, adding that “hopefully” the branch, the bank’s first one in the mainland, will open in the second half of next year.
According to Kan, the future branch would mainly focus on supporting Macau companies on the island. Kan said his bank preferred “to go step-by-step”. “We don’t want to over-commit ourselves,” Kan said.
Kan pointed out that BNU opened a representative office in Shanghai about a decade ago, adding that the mainland authorities appeared to be positively inclined towards having a BNU branch on Hengqin.
Kan also said the bank planned to open a branch on the University of Macau’s (UM) new campus on Hengqin, acknowledging that this, however, was not solely a BNU decision.
Currently, only the Bank of China (BOC) has a branch on the university’s new campus, which the Macau government has leased from the mainland. The campus has come under Macau’s jurisdiction without being an integral part of its territory.
In addition, Kan said the recent “meltdown” of the mainland stock market did not affect BNU because the bank has no financial investment in the mainland.
“We are not being affected. But indirectly, you may say that some customers of BNU [are affected]. They may have some investment in [mainland] China or in Hong Kong, in the stock market. They may have got their fingers burnt, but it is still too early to tell,” Kan added.