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The growth was slightly slower than the 18.3-percent growth rate recorded a year earlier, according to figures from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).
The banks' liabilities reached 122.63 trillion yuan, up 17.5 percent year-on-year, compared with an increase of 18 percent a year earlier, the CBRC said on its website.
Smaller lenders, including joint-stock commercial banks and city commercial banks, posted annual growth of more than 20 percent for both assets and liabilities, more than double the expansion rate of large-sized lenders.
Big banks accounted for 44.1 percent of the banking industry's total assets and 44 percent of its total liabilities at the end of last year, both down from 46.6 percent a year earlier.
Five banks were categorized as large-sized lenders in the CBRC's calculations, namely the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China, the China Construction Bank and the Bank of Communications.