The property market has been providing stable indications of a bright outlook for banking mortgage loan services, the CEO of Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU), Pedro Cardoso, told Business Daily in an interview yesterday.
“We’re seeing a good pick-up, not spectacular, but a good pick-up in terms of housing loans, and also financing real estate types of asset. We believe we will have a good evolution in that area, better than last year,” Mr. Cardoso explained.
In terms of expanding business, the CEO said the banking sector is also experiencing a “good evolution” – in particular, towards opportunities for providing services related to acquiring Point of Sale [PoS] and ATM businesses.
Less opportunity for expansion in that sense is expected from the gaming sector.
Since the gaming economy got back on track earlier this year, borrowing demand has decreased, on a pace with the rise in revenues.
“The more cash load [casino operators] generate, the less financing they need. And with the concession expiration date approaching, for the next few years, other than maintenance investment, we probably won’t have too much big investment in that sector,” he indicated.
Nevertheless, the corporate segment he called tourism and gaming industry still remains, according to him, BNU’s most important customer base.
Property a two-way market
Demand for property acquisition in Mainland China has also been showing good prospects for the banking business, according to the CEO, who claims that the BNU branch which opened on Hengqin in January 2017 has been receiving such requests from Macau residents.
He explained, however, that the opposite trend, of Mainland China residents wishing to acquire property in Macau has not been particularly the case.
“People from outside Macau purchase from an investment point of view. If they think it is a good investment, there will be more offshore investment in Macau,” he said.
In view of increasing infrastructure development and integration within the Greater Bay Area, the CEO said he does not “see infrastructure development having a link” with an increase in demand for property acquisition from Mainland buyers, at least not in the near future.
For the time being, he says the statistics continue to show that “the large majority of people [acquiring property in Macau] are local buyers.”
Hengqin and the OBOR ‘spirit’
Being positioned in Hengqin, the bank has also clearly devised strategies to enable financing solutions catering to business from China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.
“We look at that as a two way business. On the one hand, we have Chinese and Macau-based companies that are investing across the world, and in particular in Portuguese-speaking countries, [providing] them with support through our sister banks and parent company. On the other hand, [we assist] Portuguese-speaking companies that have been investing in China, with some of them also using Macau as a platform for that investment,” the BNU CEO said.
Accordingly, the strategy is inscribed both in the “One Belt, One Road [OBOR] spirit,” as Mr. Cardoso described it, and in the Greater Bay Area “pillar,” which he concedes is more concretely equipped to enable cross-border co-operation between Macau and Guangdong Province.