Business / Policy Watch

Lenders ordered to give green light to key national projects

( Updated: 2015-08-21 20:15

China will encourage banking institutions to increase lending to major projects in key fields to support major national strategies, including the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Banking institutions are required to give credit support to major projects based on their market positioning, features and advantages, according to guidelines issued by the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission on Friday.

The guidelines encourage banks to innovate in terms of credit and guarantee, such as syndicated credit and emission rights pledged loans, as well as explore financing models like financial leasing and asset-backed securitization.

At the same time, banks should also ensure compliance of a major project and strictly control financial risks.

Han Zhifeng, deputy director-general of the NDRC’s Investment Department, said the central government hopes to push forward implementation of major national strategies by guiding credit funds to flow into relevant projects.

“China’s investment is facing relatively huge downward pressure under the current economic situation. In the first seven months of 2015, investment growth slowed down to 11.2 percent, compared with 13.9 percent at the beginning of this year. During the same period, the investment already in place grew even slower at a rate of 6.8 percent,” he said.

The NDRC will build a database for major projects of the country and provide updated information of these projects to financial institutions, making it more convenient and efficient for them to find the right lending targets.

Ye Yanfei, commissioner of the policy research department at the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said it was hard for commercial banks to give credit support to some major projects due to poor profitability of the projects.

“To handle this problem, the government should raise the prices of certain public goods, including agricultural water, and allow banks to develop auxiliary projects in addition to a major project to increase profit. Banks should also think of their own ways to increase profitability of these projects, such as using the land surrounding a water project to develop ecotourism,” Ye said.

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