There are only two Chinese banks you’d now want to work for, suggests DBS

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If you’re looking for a banking job in Hong Kong over the coming weeks and months, you might be tempted to apply to a Chinese bank. Western firms in the city tend to scale bank their hiring in the second half of the year as the post-bonus recruitment rush dies down.

But if you’re thinking of joining a Chinese bank, you’re probably also concerned about the effect China’s economic slowdown and its trade war with the US may have on your employment longevity. And you’ll be keeping an eye on recent allegations that some Chinese banks have been in possible breach of US sanctions against North Korea.

If macro events affecting China take a considerable turn for the worse, which mainland firms are best placed to weather the storm, and by implication less inclined to cut jobs and pay? Helpfully, DBS has just published a stress-test study that provides some answers, albeit concerning ones for Hong Kong job seekers.

Out of 19 banks, which represent 76% of assets in China’s banking sector, only four passed DBS’s new stress test (based on an extreme economic downturn). And two of these, Chongqing Rural Commercial Bank and Bank of Shanghai, aren’t exactly on the radar of most Hong Kong bankers.

DBS’s research concludes that the two most resilient mainland banks (with a capital base strong enough to enable them to withstand an extreme downturn) are: China Construction Bank and China Merchants Bank.

If the predicted resilience of China Construction Bank (CCB) appeals to you, the good news is that the firm has 30 Hong Kong-based vacancies on its careers website right now, many of which are mid-level ones (AVPs and VPs). CCB is hiring a relationship manager for its private banking unit, for example, requiring five years’ experience. It’s also trying to take on staff in areas including ebusiness, internal audit and product development.

China Merchants Bank appears to be hiring in Hong Kong on a smaller scale and has few front office openings. But it does have vacancies in compliance and finance.  

The DBS stress test was based on three terrible economic events happening around the same time: a big drop in China’s annual economic growth to 4% in 2020, a 31% fall in property prices, and a large spike in non-performing loans. If this all comes to pass, China’s banking industry will need to raise 2 trillion yuan (US$291bn) to replenish its capital, according to DBS analyst Ken Shih.

Image Credit: Mumemories, Getty

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