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Singapore’s OCBC Bank to support green belt-and-road projects

Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, aka OCBC Bank, will work with China’s state-funded insurer on sustainable projects that form part of the ambitious belt-and-road initiative to develop major infrastructure projects.

Under the newly-announced agreement OCBC and China Export & Credit Insurance Corp (Sinosure) will assess BRI projects and investment opportunities and collaborate to boost trade and investment cooperation between both Singapore and China.

Sinosure is the only state-funded insurance institution conducting export credit insurance business in the People’s Republic of China and will provide insurance cover for OCBC’s financing activities of sustainable projects and other BRI developments.

The agreement focuses on ‘green’ projects in areas such as renewable energy and energy efficiency; pollution prevention and control; clean transport; sustainable water and waste management; climate change adaption; and green buildings. It also extends to ensuring access to essential services, such as health, education and financial inclusion.

Business boost

OCBC said the partnership will allow it to better serve the increasing number of Chinese customers venturing into the Asean region, while building on its ability to capture the accompanying boost to business there.

Elaine Lam, its head of global corporate banking, said: “With the implementation of the BRI resulting in significant Chinese investments into the region, there will be many transactions for us to undertake together in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

Zha Weimin, executive vice-president of Sinosure, said: “We have seen strong growth in the number of Chinese companies which have chosen Asean as a core market. Sinosure and OCBC play an important role in supporting Chinese investments in the BRI countries.”

Last month Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Italy, amid signs that the eurozone’s third-largest economy will become the first G7 member to officially back the BRI initiative.

OCBC recently said it was the first Singapore bank to set up an ethics and conduct board committee, to ensure that the group’s core values of trust and integrity continue to anchor the way it conducts business.

“Given the environment today, where several financial institutions - including top international banks – have been mired in controversies in recent years involving ethical misconduct, the setting up of the new board committee is timely to ensure that responsible banking is rigorously enforced across the whole OCBC group,” it stated.

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