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SinoPac Financial reviews lending applications following probe

SinoPac Financial Holdings Co. Ltd. is reviewing its lending operations following a series of questionable loans that led to large fines and a management reshuffle, the Taipei Times reported Dec. 20, citing the company's senior executives.

The company is re-examining credit applications to ensure they all meet regulatory requirements, just as Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission is investigating if the company is guilty of compliance failure.

The probe comes after the FSC received a tip from the group's employees that its unit, SinoPac Leasing Corp., granted a NT$4.22 billion loan to J&R Trading Co., a foreign shell company with investments from affiliates of SinoPac Financial. The loan raised ethical and legal concerns given the group's link to the company and the absence of a sufficient collateral.

The group denied the accusation and claimed that the leasing unit secured equities and subordinate claims on real estate as collateral that amounted to almost 85% of the loan.

Bank SinoPac Co. Ltd. was fined NT$10 million in November for loans to dentistry supplier Tingsing Trading Co. The company, which obtained NT$3.78 billion of loans from 13 lenders, was owned by an in-law of a former director at the bank.

As of Dec. 19, US$1 was equivalent to NT$31.96.