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BNP Paribas signs a MOU with Taiwan Co-operative Bank - Rollout of strategic alliance in Asset Management and Bancassurance

BNP Paribas and the Taiwan Co-operative Bank today have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which forms the foundation for formalizing strategic cooperation between the two parties. Under the MOU, Taiwan Cooperative Bank and BNP Paribas will explore areas of cooperation in bancassurance, asset management, as well as in other areas of business activities, leveraging BNP Paribas' international expertise and technology platform, as well as Taiwan Cooperative Bank's knowledge of the local market and its extensive distribution network.

On asset management, BNP Paribas Asset Management and Taiwan Cooperative Bank plan to establish a joint-venture in Taiwan. Both parties are looking into a number of options which include acquiring an existing Taiwanese Securities Investment Trust Enterprise (a “SITE”). The project will benefit from BNP Paribas Asset Management's capacity to provide design, execution and management of asset management products; and from Taiwan Cooperative Bank's marketing capabilities in terms of promoting and distributing these products. With this alliance, both banks are well-positioned to capitalize on the lucrative potential of the asset management market in Taiwan where mutual fund penetration is still under nine percent.

In terms of bancassurance, Taiwan Cooperative Bank will enter into an agreement with Cardif, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas. Under this agreement, Cardif will assist Taiwan Cooperative Bank in the promotion of bancassurance products through Taiwan Cooperative Bank's extensive distribution channels in the market. Meanwhile, Cardif will share with Taiwan Cooperative Bank their international best practices on bancassurance which include, amongst other areas, product design, sales support, data process management and IT platform.

Laurent de Meyere, Country Manager for BNP Paribas Taiwan, said “We are extremely excited about these agreements as we are deeply convinced that they will bring value to both parties, leveraging each other's strengths. As the second largest bank in Taiwan and a leader in deposit accounts, Taiwan Cooperative Bank can now promote and distribute BNP Paribas' bancassurance and asset management products through their extensive network of close to 300 branches as well as cross-sell on their vast client base which includes both institutional and retail clients.” “In addition to asset management and bancassurance, BNP Paribas can explore the potential of working with Taiwan Cooperative Bank in other areas of services so that we will achieve a mutually-rewarding alliance for both banks, especially in the areas of investment and wealth management products,” de Meyere added.

“BNP Paribas Group is a European leader in banking and financial services, and ranks amongst the world's top 15 banks by market capitalization and total assets. It is our privilege to have the partnership with the bank.” said Sean C. Chen the chairman of Taiwan Cooperative Bank.
“BNP Paribas can furnish us with international expertise and their technology platform which will enable us to becoming a more modern bank. Being “Proactive, Agile, Innovative,” is our aim. Our objective is to remain rooted in Taiwan, with a vision for regional and global expansion, added Mr. Chen.

About Taiwan Cooperative Bank
Taiwan Cooperative Bank (TCB) was established on 5th October 1946, and was authorised to reorganise itself as Taiwan Cooperative Bank Co Ltd on 1st January, 2001. The Bank was listed on the stock exchange of Taiwan on 17th November 2004. It was subsequently privatised on 4th April 2005, and was renamed as Taiwan Cooperative Commercial Bank Co Ltd on 7th March 2006. Regarding the Bank's investments in the financial services sector, TCB, together with other local banks, set up a joint venture in 1992 to establish The United Taiwan Bank in Belgium in which TCB held a 70 percent stake. As part of its growth strategy, TCB established Cooperative Bank Asset Management Co Ltd in October 2005 incurring an investment of New Taiwan $ 45 million. In the following month, TCB established Cooperative Bank Insurance Brokerage Co Ltd with an investment of NT $ 10 million. Both entities are wholly owned by TCB. In May 2006, TCB set precedence by having a merger with The Farmers' Bank of China, after which, the latter entity was dissolved. As of November 2006, TCB has become the largest commercial bank in Taiwan with 295 domestic branches. The Ministry of Finance remains the largest shareholder of TCB with a 42.41 percent stake. TCB is an industry leader in terms of its loan portfolio. The Bank also has the most extensive branch network in Taiwan. These two core attributes give the Bank a good platform to expand into the corporate banking, retail banking and wealth management sectors. The Bank does not rule out the possibility of establishing a financial holdings company in the future.

About BNP Paribas Group
BNP Paribas is a European leader in banking and financial services, and ranks amongst the world's top 15 banks by market capitalization and total assets. It is also the 1st bank in terms of market capitalization in the Euro-zone as of August 2006. The Bank has close to 140 000 employees, half of whom are based outside France. The group occupies leading positions in three significant fields of activity: Corporate and Investment Banking, Asset Management & Services and Retail Banking. It is present in 85 countries and has strong presence in all the key financial centres. Present throughout Europe, in all its business lines, France and Italy are its two domestic markets in retail banking. BNP Paribas enjoys significant and growing presence in the United States and leading positions in Asia and in emerging markets.

About BNP Paribas in Taiwan
The first BNP Paribas representative office in Taiwan was established in 1981 in Taipei and in 1984, it was upgraded to a branch. In order to cater to clients in the southern region, Kaohsiung branch was opened in 1991. BNP Paribas, the largest French bank in Taiwan, is able to provide clients with a reliable network and the financial expertise of specialists throughout the country. Since then, the Bank has expanded its reach and services. In 1997, BNP Paribas set up Cardif, its life insurance arm in Taiwan. In 2005, BNP Paribas Securities (Taiwan) was established as the local securities company while BNP Paribas Wealth Management Taiwan was also launched in 2005 as the onshore wealth management branch for the Bank.

About Cardif
Cardif, the BNP Paribas Assurance life and non-life insurer, has been designing and distributing Savings and Protection products and services, since 1973, through diverse distribution channels. Cardif is present in 33 countries, with strong positions in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and partners with over 35 of the 100 world leading banks. BNP Paribas Assurance is the Life and Property & Casualty insurance unit of BNP Paribas, employing over 5,000 employees, of whom more than half are based outside France. In 2005, gross written premiums reached Euro13 bn, of which 27% were collected abroad and 44% outside the BNP Paribas group. BNP Paribas Assurance is the fourth-largest life insurance company in France and is the second largest worldwide in creditor insurance.

About BNP Paribas Asset Management
With 298 billion euros* in asset under management, BNP Paribas Asset Management is one of the top players in the industry in Europe. Its management expertise encompasses all asset classes, from discretionary mandates to management of corporate savings and pension products. BNP Paribas Asset Management's business model is anchored in the integration of multiple specialties within a single organization. Equipped to deliver expertise from specialized management platforms to clients around the world, BNP Paribas Asset Management allies the strengths and skill sets of a leader in institutional management and fund distribution. BNP Paribas Asset Management is a leader and long-standing actor in the new promising markets, where it aims at developing the local markets as well as bringing new investment opportunities to its clients worldwide. Its presence in these new markets includes operations or Joint Ventures in China, South Korea, India, Turkey, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina.

*As of September 2006