The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Print Edition> Business
UPDATED: December 14, 2009 NO. 50 DECEMBER 17, 2009
Banks on Notice
Regulators issue policies to guide China's banks as massive loans compromise the banking sector's ability to contain future risks


BANKING WONDER: Passers-by walk past the headquarters of Bank of China, one of the biggest state-owned banks in China. Regulatory departments are working to strengthen their oversight to protect the banking sector (GAO XUEYU) 

Regulatory departments are strengthening their supervision over financial institutions to prevent an incomprehensible financial scenario from unfolding: the failure of the Chinese banking system, an event which would overshadow the collapse of Lehman Brothers Inc. in the United States in 2008. Because the robust Chinese economic development has been a major foundation for renewed confidence worldwide, if Chinese banks—which experienced the least turmoil during the financial crisis—were to encounter serious problems, the world could once again be thrown into an economic abyss.

Recently, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and the central bank publicized a number of policies guiding the capital adequacy ratio of commercial banks to ensure the banking sector run safely and smoothly.

Inadequate capital is considered the biggest threat to the banking industry, supervisory authorities said. In order to cushion the blow from the financial crisis and secure sufficient liquidity, banks began shoveling money liberally into the market. In the first 10 months of this year, newly added renminbi-denominated loans stood at 8.92 trillion yuan ($1.31 trillion), the equivalent of roughly one third of the China's gross domestic product in 2008.

The generosity of the banks' monetary measures resulted in a drop of 1 to 3 percentage points in their capital adequacy ratio, leaving small and medium-sized commercial banks under even greater pressure than the larger financial institutions.

In the December 1 issue of China Finance magazine, Vice Minister of the CBRC Wang Zhaoxing outlined the CBRC's increase in the minimum capital adequacy ratio from 8 percent to 10 percent for small and medium-sized banks and 11 percent for larger banks. The CBRC also expanded the non-performing loans provisioning coverage ratio from 100 percent to a more encompassing 150 percent.

Wang said increases in the two ratios were meant to encourage the banks to turn profits into concrete assets and provisioning coverage to cope with unexpected losses, allowing the banking industry in its entirety to operate soundly.

Despite the CBRC guidelines, many banks are on the verge of falling below the threshold. According to third quarter reports from the three major listed banks, capital adequacy ratios had amounted to 11.63 percent by September 30 for the Bank of China, 12.6 percent for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and 12.11 percent for China Construction Bank.

CBRC requirements

Earlier in December, the CBRC issued a notice on its website, instructing all commercial banks to properly and prudently manage their credit risks that may increase before the year's end. The commission also required self-inspections of possible problems stemming from large loans issued during the last quarter of 2008 and the first two quarters of 2009.

The notice reiterates that the CBRC will place restrictions on financial institutions with low capital adequacy ratios and those that fail to take rational and feasible capital replenishing actions in the following areas: market access, overseas investments, and office and operation expansions. As for financial institutions whose provisioning coverage ratios have not reached 150 percent, they must make every effort to reach the CBRC target by the end of the year.

To avoid sharp upticks and downturns in the credit market, the CBRC required all commercial banks to properly handle the speed of issuing loans in accordance with their risk control abilities, capital adequacy and provisioning coverage.

1   2   Next  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved