New postal savings bank gets approval

By Yu Lu (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-03 07:04

China's banking regulator has formally approved the launch of the postal savings bank, setting a new stage in the development of the country's postal savings services.

The launch of the bank is also an important achievement in China's reform of its banking sector, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said in a statement on Sunday.

The CBRC said the bank would be wholly owned by the China Post Group, a $10 billion stand
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alone company, recently formed out of the State Post Bureau.

The establishment of the bank is part of the government's efforts to develop the rural economy as most of the postal savings outlets are in the rural areas, industry experts said.

"China Postal Savings Bank will focus on developing retail and intermediary businesses, to offer basic financial services for residents in urban and vast rural areas," the CBRC said. "It will form sound, complementary relations with other commercial banks to contribute to the development of the new countryside."

According to the CBRC, the bank, after its opening, will set up a department specially for rural financial services, to further improve its network and services to farmers, and the agricultural sector.

The bank will strengthen its co-operation with policy banks and the rural credit co-operatives to improve the coverage and quality of rural finance, the CBRC said.

The banking regulator set up a new department in April last year to oversee the postal savings services and the country's three policy banks.

The CBRC did not reveal financial details of the new bank in its statement

China Post started its postal savings services in 1986 with the establishment of the China Post Savings and Remittance Bureau. But it could only accept deposits from the public and not offer loans.

By the end of 2005, it had a deposit balance of 1.3 trillion yuan ($166 billion), accounting for nearly 10 percent of China's household savings and making it the fifth largest savings institution after the big four State-owned banks.

In 2005, it had more than 36,000 outlets across the country. In preparation for the creation, China Post began to expand its services last year with the setting up of a pilot program in several provinces offering small-scale loans. 

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