Campus: San Francisco State University -- August 22, 2001

S.F. State Faculty Travel To China To Train Chinese Employees In Modern Banking Practices

University and CSU to provide new skills for China's 2 million banking employees

Preparing China for its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), San Francisco State University is teaming up with China Ventures, Inc. of Vancouver with the goal of training 10,000 Chinese bank employees during the next year in the ways of modern banking.

The global arrangement calls for S.F. State faculty to travel to China on a regular basis to hold classes for Chinese bank employees ---from bank tellers to senior executives --- on topics ranging from customer service to loan analysis. Some of those employees will come to the S.F. State campus for sessions.

Working along with the California State University system, China Ventures, Inc. will provide opportunities for China's 2 million bank employees to learn about Western banking practices.

"San Francisco State is eager to take leadership in this project. The faculty who will be closely involved have strong professional and cultural ties to China, as well as a fine track record in just this kind of international education. Our Pacific Rim location and the University's international character in both population and curriculum also position us well to take on this truly exciting venture," said S.F. State President Robert A. Corrigan.

Ronald Shon, president of China Ventures, Inc., a Canadian company helping China move into the international marketplace, said S.F. State was chosen for its location near one of the main banking centers on the Pacific Rim and its progressive nature towards private public partnerships.

"There is a very good fit between our company and San Francisco State University and its faculty," said Shon, whose firm is financing the program along with banks in China. "We are providing a key role in helping China modernize its institutions and intend to work with SFSU and the CSU to move beyond banking into other market sectors."

About 100 bank managers in Beijing received an overview of Western banking practices last spring from Yea-Mow Chen, chair of the finance department at S.F. State who is from Taiwan and is fluent in Mandarin. "The bankers were very eager to learn how we conduct banking in the United States. With China's membership into the WTO, the bankers want to learn how to expand their business and how to reduce the default rate on loans. They really want to be competitive," said Chen, adding that China needs to restructure its inefficient state banking sector, which uses a transaction system that still relies on fountain pens and carbon paper.

The program will operate out of S.F. State's College of Extended Learning, a self-supporting arm of the University that offers continuing education courses to working professionals. The University's finance department will help develop the curriculum for the program and recruit faculty, which will include a number of active and retired bankers in the Bay Area. Faculty from CSU Monterey Bay and other campuses also will be involved. Most of the sessions will take place in classroom settings as well as through self-paced, on-line sessions. While in China, the faculty also will teach sessions to Chinese instructors who in turn will teach other bank employees throughout the country.

The program will allow S.F. State to export valuable knowledge about modern banking practices to China, said Jeff Munks, assistant dean and executive director of S.F. State's Downtown Center. "We have the banking expertise that is urgently needed in China as the country opens its doors to new ideas and practices," said Munks, who worked with CSU officials in starting the program at S.F. State. "We are developing a new viable, model for expanding education beyond our borders."

Beginning in early October, S.F. State faculty members along with banking executives will go to China each month for weeklong sessions. The first group of bank employees from China will come to S.F. State in late October.

Phil Quast, who heads up global business development efforts for the CSU, is currently visiting other CSU campuses to enlist more faculty for the program. "This is an excellent opportunity for CSU faculty and students to take part in a global experience. This is a market that will be expanding for the next 25 years," said Quast, adding that the Chinese government is also looking to the CSU in training its cabdrivers and service workers in English in preparation for the 2008 Olympics.

"It is very exciting to be at the forefront of a major reform in the banking industry in China. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said S.F. State's Chen.


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