By the end of May, China had opened 18 rural community banks
offering farmers easier access to loans and providing credit to
businesses in the countryside that want to expand.
The small lenders include nine village banks, three loan firms
and six rural cooperatives in six pilot regions of Jilin, Hubei,
Sichuan, Qinghai,Gansu and Inner Mongolia.
The rural community lenders have improved financial services in
rural areas, said Tang Shuangning, vice chairman of the China
Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).
By the end of May, community banks had deposits of 55.23 million
yuan (US$7.17 million) and had issued loans of 138.43 million yuan.
They are able to raise capital by borrowingfrom other banks.
Sixty-one percent of the loans were used to boost the
development of small-and-medium sized enterprises and 36 percent
went to individual farmers.
The Huimin Village Bank, which started operations in Yilong
County of Sichuan Province on March 1 this year, was the first
community bank to open after the CBRC made it easier for them to be
The registered capital requirement was lowered to 3 million yuan
for banks in counties and 1 million yuan in villages andtowns.
China has been trying to find new ways to provide financial
services toits vast countryside after most state banks withdrew
their rural outlets in the late 1990s, leaving behind only the
Agriculture Bank of China, rural cooperatives and postal savings
(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2007)