Langley City has become the first Canadian municipality to invest with the Bank of China, a move mayor Ted Schaffer says will help the City attract new business.
The City announced Tuesday that it purchased a $100,000 term deposit with Bank of China (Canada) on terms that Schaffer said were comparable to those offered by Canadian banks.
The Bank of China (Canada) is incorporated in Canada, which means deposits are protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Mayor Schaffer said the agreement will provide increased exposure and business investment opportunities for Langley City.
He said it sends a message that the City is a place where Bank of China (Canada) business partners can invest.
There have already been two tentative expressions of interest as a result of the deal, the mayor added.
“The spin-off factor (from the agreement) is immense,” Schaffer told The Times.
“Where else can we get global recognition and advertising for no cost?”
Mayor Schaffer said the process that led to the Bank of China deal started after another Canadian financial institution closed down its Langley City branch and the City began looking for a bank willing to set up shop locally.
“That’s kind of where it started,” Schaffer said.
“I wondered if there were other banks willing to work with the City of Langley.”
While the Bank of China wasn’t prepared to open a branch, it was interested in a win-win agreement where the bank could show that it can handle municipal investments and the City could show it can do deals with international businesses.
“It shows the bank is willing to work with the community and the community is going to work with the bank,” Schaffer said.
The mayor said the agreement was about a year in the making, starting with a Union of B.C. Municipalities convention reception hosted by the consul-general of the People’s Republic of China in 2015.
Schaffer then invited the consul general and representatives of the bank to meet with some Langley City entrepreneurs.
The result, he said, was a “very positive relationship” between the bank and the City.
The Bank of China confirmed the Langley agreement is the first municipal government deposit the bank has received in the more than 20 years it has been operating in Canada.
“We are pleased to partner with the City of Langley and look forward to enhancing the relationship through mutually beneficial cooperation,” Bank of China (Canada) president and CEO Aihua Li said in a written statement, adding, “We wish the City of Langley prosperity and every success.”
The Bank of China, based in Beijing, is one of the biggest state-owned commercial banks in China.
It has more than 300,000 employees operating more than 10,000 branches in China and around the world.