Profits up for listed banks, Fintech integration continues

By Guo Xiaohong
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, May 17, 2018
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EY releases a report, Listed Banks in China: 2017 Review and Outlook, in Beijing on May 15, analyzing the annual reports last year of 41 listed banks in China. [Photo courtesy of EY]

In 2017, the 41 listed banks in China realized net profit totaling 1.54 trillion yuan (US$242.15 billion), a year-on-year increase of 5.1 percent, according to an annual report released on May 15 by EY, a global assurance, tax, transaction and advisory consultancy.

The report "Listed Banks in China: 2017 Review and Outlook" analyzed the annual reports from last year of 41 A-share and H-share listed lenders-five large commercial banks, nine joint-stock commercial banks, 26 city commercial banks and rural commercial banks as well as the Postal Savings Bank of China. It also provided an outlook on their future development.

Steven Xu, financial services partner at EY, attributed the profit growth to a combination of faster growth in operating income driven by net interest income, a slight increase in the cost-to-income ratio and slower growth in impairment allowance. 

He pointed out that operating efficiency still has room for improvement with the slowing growth of net fee and commission income, the divergent movement of net interest margin (NIM) and the sliding return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE).

Xu also pointed out that the rise of personal wealth has shifted the consumption pattern upmarket, boosting the consumer appetite for more personalized financial services and products. According to the report, many listed banks have proposed a"big retail" strategy with retail becoming a buzzword in many listed banks' 2017 annual reports.

Xu said that profits before tax from retail business accounted for 39.02 percent of the total profit before tax of the listed banks, 5.6 percentage points higher than that of 2016.

Last year, listed banks also saw rapid development in FinTech, which provides technical support for smart financial services. They further integrated new technologies of FinTech, including big data, cloud technology, biological identification and artificial intelligence, into transforming their operating models and expanding their financial services so as to improve customer experience and competitiveness.

In 2017 the listed banks continued to promote intelligent outlet transformation and the optimization of human resources. The total number of outlets and employees declined slightly from the beginning of the year.

For listed banks, the report said that preventing and containing financial risks and ensuring high quality development will be the key tasks in 2018 and the coming years while technology-led transformation and development has already become a trend. The integration of finance and technology will not stop at the technological level, but will be far-reaching, encompassing mindsets, ideas, business models and management methods.

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