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Private-bank policies take time to emerge

By Yu Ran in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-08 06:38

On June 19, the State Council held an executive meeting in which it discussed how to conduct a trial launch of private-sector banks and financial agencies totally funded by private capital.

Hearing the good news, Lyu and his partners immediately submitted a second draft plan, which has yet to receive a response.

On July 5, another advisory document from the State Council also mentioned the trial plan to encourage private capital to launch private-sector banks.

But the bottom line is that over the past two years, no detailed measures have been announced to allow private capital into the financial sector.

Figures from the CBRC show that only 45 percent of the total shares of joint-stock commercial banks were in private hands as of the end of 2012.

"We know it is very difficult for the central government to make a big move, so we want to wait a bit longer to see if our dream still can be realized. We are ready with money and shareholders at any time," said Lyu.

This isn't the first time that Wenzhou entrepreneurs have tried to run a private bank.

Yang Jiaxing, 68, who founded the first private shareholding urban credit cooperative in Wenzhou more than a decade ago, was another businessman with the same dream. He did his best to gather enough small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in the project before submitting a detailed plan to the Wenzhou branch of the CBRC at the end of 2012.

"We had held discussions with potential shareholders of the bank and certain SME-related associations to ensure that the bank could be launched as soon as possible after the approval of the draft plan, which went nowhere in the past year," said Yang.

Yang added that he had lost patience with the long wait and abandoned the goal of opening a private-sector bank.

"Several enterprises in Wenzhou submitted plans to launch private-sector banks in 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2012, which all ended with no response," said Zhou Dewen, the chairman of the Wenzhou Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development Association.

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