(Bloomberg) -- Even as many banks seek to trim their exposure to real estate globally, Standard Chartered Plc has signaled it could expand its presence in the market as it spies opportunities in the wake of the withdrawal of other players.

Despite having been stung by the collapse in property values in China, the emerging markets-focused bank said it could look to build its exposure to Western real estate in the coming months. Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters acknowledged the hit the bank had taken on Chinese property, but said that the lender was “quite underweight commercial real estate in other markets.”

“We have relatively little exposure to commercial real estate in the Western world,” Winters said, speaking on a call following the announcement of the bank’s fourth-quarter earnings. “Are there opportunities there? Maybe over time.”

Winters’ comments point to a contrarian bet at a time when commercial real estate debt is rattling many lenders across the world. The loan books of many banks from New York to Munich are showing rising levels of stress because of a slump in property values, triggered by a mix of interest-rate hikes over the last two years and the shift to remote working. 

Read more: Real Estate Crisis Hits Banks From NY to Munich: The Brink

Standard Chartered’s approach is also in contrast to that of HSBC Holdings Plc CEO Noel Quinn, who said he was “progressively de-risking” the bank’s property portfolio, particularly in Western markets like the US and the UK. 

HSBC has cut its global exposure to property, shrinking its US book by 27% last year and its Asian portfolio by 12%. Overall the bank reported a 13% reduction in its worldwide real estate portfolio last year to $83.6 billion.

At Standard Chartered, the bank’s gross balance of loans and advances to the real estate sector declined last year by 6.5% to $15.8 billion, according to its latest financial reports.

Winters still struck a note of caution.

“If we have opportunities to add at a moment of distress, to create some franchise value, we’ll do that,” he said. “But we’re not looking to load up on assets just for the sake of that.”

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