BankAmerica Corp. has opened a branch in Shanghai, marking a return to the city after 40 years.

The branch will provide trade finance, payment, and money transfer services, financial and investment advisory services, and trade and credit checking, as well as U.S. dollar loans and guarantees, BankAmerica said.

San Francisco-based BankAmerica is the second U.S. banking company to open a branch in Shanghai, joining Citicorp. Several other international banks have also recently opened branches or representative offices in China's leading commercial center.

BankAmerica's chief executive, Richard M. Rosenburg, said at the official opening Wednesday he expects Shanghai to regain its importance as a financial center because of the Chinese government's willingness to allow foreign banks back into the city.

Agnes Lam, a vice president and specialist in trade finance and international trade settlements, will manage the branch. She was born in Shanghai and has been with BankAmerica for 17 years.

BankAmerica, which has been gradually stepping up its presence in China as part of an effort to build business in Asia, has representative offfices in Beijing and Guangzhou.

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