Magazine article American Banker

Huntington Bancshares, BankAmerica Strike Asian Trade Financial Deal

Magazine article American Banker

Huntington Bancshares, BankAmerica Strike Asian Trade Financial Deal

Article excerpt

Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares and BankAmerica Corp. have struck a deal to provide trade finance services through a Hong Kong-based Huntington subsidiary.

Under the arrangement, BankAmerica will issue letters of credit through two units Huntington has set up-Huntington Trade Services Inc., in Columbus, and Huntington Trade Services Asia Ltd. The letters of credit will be issued in Huntington's name, and processing will be handled electronically via BankAmerica.

The arrangement is one of a growing number between large banks with computer-driven processing infrastructures and smaller regionals seeking to expand international banking services.

It is the first such trade-related deal for BankAmerica, which has large retail and wholesale banking operations in Asia. Marcia Davis, vice president of BankAmerica's international trade unit in New York, said the company was talking to several other banks but would be "selective" choosing a partner.

The $20 billion-asset Huntington is the fourth midwestern bank that has recently opened offices in the Far East. In November, First Chicago NBD Corp. opened a branch in Beijing and began negotiating with Asia Commercial Bank and Ong Commodities Company to create a joint venture in futures brokerage in Hong Kong.

Early last year, Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp. opened a representative office in Hong Kong. And its crosstown rival, Star Banc Corp., reached a trade finance alliance similar to Huntington's with HSBC Holdings PLC, the London-based banking group and parent of Marine Midland. …

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