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Clinton Picks Yang as Asian Bank Director

July 13, 1993|JAMES F. PELTZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

President Clinton said Monday that he plans to nominate Linda Tsao Yang, a Davis, Calif., banking consultant and former California savings and loan commissioner, to be an executive director of the Asian Development Bank.

The bank, based in Manila, is a 53-member-nation institution that provides loans and technical assistance to foster development in Asia and the Far East.

Organized in 1966 by the United States and Japan, the bank now has $22 billion in assets and is managed by a board of 12 executive directors from various nations.

Although the bank's president is always Japanese by convention, the United States' role as one of the bank's major financial supporters means Yang would also hold a powerful position at the institution.

Yang "will bring impressive skills in capital development and a strong knowledge of Asia's economy to her post," Clinton said in a statement. Her nomination is subject to Senate approval.

Appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Yang (pronounced Young) was the state's savings and loan commissioner from 1980 to 1982--the first woman and minority to hold that post.

Yang, 66, who was born in Shanghai and moved to the United States in 1946, said she is "very honored" to have "been given an opportunity to serve my adoptive country."

She said the bank will continue to play an important role for the United States because "40% of our trade is with our Pacific partners" and the "building up of our relationships with countries around the Pacific Rim is a very important task for us."

The Asian Development Bank has been called the most efficient and conservative of the world's regional development banks and a factor in the economic success of Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

But the bank has also been criticized for making too many old-fashioned loans to governments for big agricultural and public works projects, without providing significant help for the hundreds of millions of Asians that live in poverty.

Yang said the bank's efforts will be reviewed, adding that in light of the changing Asian economies, the bank's "priorities need to be reassessed."

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