(Oct 21): Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. aims to expand its lending to environmentally-friendly projects after this year building the biggest exposure to green loans among its Southeast Asian peers.

The bank has built a team of five to focus on sustainable financing after foraying into green loans last year and is looking to add bankers, said Mike Ng, the Singapore bank’s head of structured and sustainable finance. So far in 2019, OCBC has participated in more than US$500 million ($682 million) of green lending, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

More banks in Asia are piling into environmentally-focused loans after a regional association last year agreed on principles that standardize disclosure rules. While that should boost lending in the area, Asia has a lot of ground to make up. It accounts for just 21%, or US$217 billion, of the total US$1.02 trillion of sustainable debt globally, according to BNEF data.

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