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Auto loans rules revised to fend off defaults
By Chuan Yu (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-08-18 09:00

China released long-expected revised rules governing auto loans yesterday, strengthening risk prevention measures after growing loan defaults frustrated commercial banks.

The new rules are also expected to help boost the nation's auto sales, which will play "an active role" in promoting domestic consumption as the State tries to cool off over investment while maintaining appropriate economic growth, said the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank.

The new auto loan rules, jointly promulgated by the PBOC and the China Banking Regulatory Commission, allow all commercial banks, credit co-operatives and qualified non-banking financial institutions to provide auto loans.

In the old version of auto loan rules, which were enacted in 1998 and will be replaced by the new rules on October 1, only the four State-owned commercial banks were allowed to do the business. Other Chinese banks were also permitted in 1999 as the policy loosened.

The new rules classify borrowers as individuals, auto dealers and institutional borrowers, and provide detailed qualification requirements.

The rules specify minimal down payment requirements for personal autos, commercial autos and second-hand autos - respectively at 20 per cent, 30 per cent and 50 per cent.

Many Chinese banks required low or even zero down payments for auto loans in recent years as they aggressively explored the new area of consumer credit.

But defaults were later found rising beyond their expectations largely owing to a lack of a social credit system. Many lenders have recently tightened risk controls, raising down payment requirements or even suspending the business in some areas.

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