- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2008

SHANGHAI | The U.S. Federal Reserve has approved an application by China’s biggest lender, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, or ICBC, to open a branch in New York.

The decision Tuesday followed an agreement during trade talks in June to speed up such approvals.

Wu Bin, who heads ICBC’s representative office in New York, welcomed the decision as an “important milestone,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The New York branch will be ICBC’s main business platform in the United States and will facilitate the lender’s expansion overseas, it said. The branch will handle wholesale deposit taking, lending, trade finance and other banking services, the Federal Reserve said.

In its decision, the Fed cited the state-owned bank’s progress in restructuring and improving its controls against money laundering. The bank has capital exceeding international standards and equivalent to those required of U.S. banks, it said.

The Chinese government owns nearly 75 percent of ICBC, which has assets worth $1.3 trillion.

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