Chinese officials are learning Western banking practices from Atlanta banks to better integrate China into the global economy, according to Ken Jin, international program manager at Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) continuing education department.

With China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization, the country’s banking practices need to become more efficient and compatible with Western standards, Mr. Jin told GlobalFax.

          As such, a group of 12 senior banking managers from the Shanghai-based Agricultural Bank of China, one of the four largest commercial banks in China, completed a four-day training program at KSU Continuing Education last week.

“China is becoming more exposed to the world economy, so we know the theories of U.S. banking,” one Chinese banking manager said during a training session. “But now it is important for our banks to learn practical ways to improve efficiency.”

The program taught the Chinese managers tangible methods of cutting costs and streamlining operations through classroom lectures and visits to commercial banks in Atlanta, including Summit National Bank and SunTrust Bank.

The Agricultural Bank hopes U.S. companies operating in China will be more inclined to use its services if its managers apply the knowledge they learned during this trip to Georgia, Mr. Jin said.

One important lesson learned here, the Chinese bankers agreed, was the concept of niche banking, or tailoring banking services to specific customers’ needs, a concept that does not exist in China.

Summit National Bank, for example, showed them the bank’s specialized services for Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and other “hyphenated” Americans, Mr. Jin said.

This concept could be useful to the Agricultural Bank of China because its 600,000 employees in 60,000 branches are scattered throughout the country and located in rural areas with special needs, one Chinese participant explained.

The Agricultural Bank plans to send more employees here to participate in the KSU training program in the future, the bank’s international services director said.

Contact Mr. Jin at (770) 423-6048 or