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Banks working to make financing easier for private companies

By Jiang Xueqing | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-03-05 13:27
Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, receives an interview after the opening meeting of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 5, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's financial sector is striving to solve the financing difficulties of private enterprises and reducing their costs, said Guo Shuqing, Party secretary of the People's Bank of China and chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

"The efforts to step up support for private enterprises are closely related to the supply-side structural reform of the financial sector. We are making adjustments in terms of financial institution, market and product systems," said Guo during an interview on Tuesday in the so-called "minister's passage" at the annual meetings of the national legislature and the top political advisory body.

During the last 10 years, the market share of the five largest commercial banks by assets dropped from more than 50 percent to 38 percent, while the number of small and medium-sized commercial banks and private banks that focus on small business lending are on the rise, according to him. In the meantime, the "Big Five" commercial banks and 12 national joint-stock commercial lenders have set up their own inclusive finance department.

As of the end of 2018, the balance of small and micro-sized enterprise loans with a total credit line of no more than 10 million yuan ($1.49 million) for each borrower increased by 21.8 percent from the beginning of last year to 9.4 trillion yuan, according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Premier Li Keqiang said in his Government Work Report that the loans of large State-owned commercial banks to small and micro-sized enterprises should grow by more than 30 percent year-on-year this year.

"I believe we can achieve that goal," Guo said.

He said that large banks made a huge progress with the adoption of big data technology, accelerating the loan granting process and lowering nonperforming loan ratios. Citing the China Construction Bank Corp as an example, Guo said its NPL ratio for small and micro-sized enterprises was only around 1 percent.

"Banks must acquire sufficient information to ensure that they grant loans to small and micro-sized enterprise that are doing business normally, rather than speculating in the market, and that the enterprises can repay the loans. To handle this challenge, banks have made a lot of exploration," he said.

Internet-based private banks such as Zhejiang E-commerce Bank Co Ltd and WeBank Co Ltd also did well in supporting private small businesses and maintained low NPL ratios, he added.

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