U.S. lawmakers have been unusually silent about federal regulators’ decision to allow a Chinese bank to take over 13 bank branches in New York and California, suggesting that they think American banks have much to gain.
Members of both parties usually relish the chance to bash China on everything from government subsidies to the yuan’s exchange rate. Yet Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Reserve to certify a Chinese bank acquisition for the first time was met by near-universal silence.
Scott Talbott, the head lobbyist for the Financial Services Roundtable, said that’s unsurprising. The U.S. wants China to open up its financial services market – foreign ownership of Chinese banks is limited to 25 percent – and allowing a Chinese presence in the U.S. is seen as a necessary trade-off.
“What this boils down to is that there are a ton more potential customers in China for U.S. banks than there are potential customers for the Chinese here,” Talbott said. “So in the long run, the approval is going to benefit the U.S.”