SCIO press conference on promoting virtuous cycle of finance and economy amid high-quality development

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Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission

Hu Xiaolian, chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China

Chen Siqing, chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

Tian Guoli, chairman of the China Construction Bank

Bai Tao, Party secretary of China Life Insurance (Group) Company 

Wang Sidong, chairman of China Taiping Insurance Group Company Limited


Shou Xiaoli, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO


March 2, 2022

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office. Today, we are delighted to be joined by Mr. Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), who will introduce China's efforts to promote a virtuous cycle of finance and economy amid high-quality development, and answer your questions. Also present at the press conference today are Ms. Hu Xiaolian, chairman of the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank); Mr. Chen Siqing, chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC); Mr. Tian Guoli, chairman of the China Construction Bank (CCB); Mr. Bai Tao, Party secretary of China Life Insurance (Group) Company; and Mr. Wang Sidong, chairman of China Taiping Insurance Group Company Limited. 

Now, I will give the floor to Mr. Guo Shuqing.

Guo Shuqing:

Thank you, Ms. Shou. Ladies and gentlemen, comrades and friends, good afternoon. I am very happy to be speaking with you about the development of China's banking and insurance sectors. First of all, on behalf of the CBIRC and the other speakers, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to friends from the media for your constant interest and support regarding the financial services sector.

2021 was a landmark year in the history of our Party and our country. The CBIRC and the entire banking and insurance sectors have followed the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; grasped the decisive significance of establishing Comrade Xi Jinping's core position on the CPC Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and defining the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; strengthened our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership; stayed confident in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics; upheld General Secretary Xi Jinping's core position on the CPC Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and the Party Central Committee's authority and its centralized, unified leadership; borne in mind the country's most fundamental interests; and implemented the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Following the specific directions of the financial stability and development committee under the State Council, we have risen undaunted to face challenges and acted proactively, thus achieving solid progress on multiple fronts.

First, we have made persistent efforts to forestall and defuse financial risks. With regards to the requirements put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the 2017 National Financial Work Conference, by the end of 2019, substantial progress had been achieved in forestalling and defusing major financial risks, and risks in eight areas had been significantly constrained. In 2020, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the leverage ratio of all national economic sectors rebounded. In 2021, risks in key areas continued to be contained, the macro leverage ratio fell by around 8 percentage points, and asset expansion in the financial system, back to a comparatively low level, re-entered the single-digit range. From 2017 to 2021, high-risk shadow banking worth up to 25 trillion yuan has been dismantled, decreasing by 11.5 trillion yuan within the past two years. Non-performing assets worth 12 trillion yuan were disposed of in the past five years, of which more than 6 trillion yuan was handled within the past two years. The hidden debt of local governments has been reduced. The financialization and bubbles in real estate have been curbed. A number of high-risk enterprises and financial institutions that violated laws and regulations have been dealt with in an orderly manner. All internet-based P2P lenders have been shut down, and the outstanding loan balance has been reduced to 490 billion yuan. A total of 25,000 illegal fundraising cases have been investigated and dealt with. China's resilience against external shocks has been improved.

Second, we have contributed to the national economy's return to steady growth. We have met the reasonable and effective financing needs of the real economy and promoted the stable recovery and virtuous cycle of the national economy. In 2021, RMB loans increased by nearly 20 trillion yuan, and banks and insurance institutions issued 7.7 trillion yuan in bonds. The balance of medium- and long-term loans to manufacturers increased by nearly 30% year on year, loans for scientific research increased by 28.9%, and green credit by 21%. We have strengthened financial services for fields severely affected by the pandemic, and the policy to postpone principal and interest repayments on loans will be smoothly shifted after the extension period. We have provided strong support for the normal operation of the coal-fired power industry. Insurance payments increased by 14.1%. About 11.6 billion yuan of payments were allocated for reconstruction after heavy rains in Henan and Shanxi provinces. COVID-19 vaccine insurance has provided risk protection via over 2.8 billion doses of vaccines.

Third, we have opened up new prospects for inclusive financial services. The volume of financial services for small and micro enterprises has increased and the cost has decreased. In the past four years, the annual average growth rate of inclusive loans to small and micro enterprises exceeded 25% and the interest rate fell by more than 2 percentage points. Innovative products such as online insurance and digital credit have developed rapidly. Inclusive financial services have become more extensive and targeted. Large and medium-sized banks leveraged their advantages in technology and data to continuously improve their ability to serve long-tail customers, remote areas and rural revitalization. In 2021, inclusive loans granted by the five largest banks to small and micro enterprises increased by 41.4%. Serious illness insurance covered 1.22 billion urban and rural residents. Agricultural insurance provided 4.7 trillion yuan of risk protection for 180 million households. We advanced the regulated development of the commercial endowment insurance — the third pillar in China's three-pillar pension system. The pilot area of exclusive commercial endowment insurance has been expanded to the whole country. The pilot program for pension wealth management products has been expanded to "10 places and 10 institutions." Another pilot program for pension savings will be launched soon. Commercial pension services for low- and middle-income groups are also being prepared. According to reports by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, China's inclusive financial services have maintained an international leading level.

Fourth, we have continued to deepen the reform and opening-up of the banking and insurance sectors. We have implemented the Three-Year Action Plan for corporate governance, continuously improved the modern financial enterprise system with Chinese characteristics, and integrated Party leadership with corporate governance based on the conditions of different regions and institutions. We have taken province-specific measures to deepen the reform of small and medium-sized banks and rural credit cooperatives according to local situations. Zhejiang Rural Credit Union has been restructured into Zhejiang Rural Commercial Union Bank. We have improved the professional management capabilities of small and medium-sized financial institutions, promoted the development of the professional manager market, and started construction on China's financial talent pool. We have deepened the reform of property insurance and life insurance. The comprehensive reform of auto insurance saved more than 250 billion yuan for consumers. The Solvency Regulatory Rules for Insurance Companies (II) has been formulated. We have revised support systems to open up the financial sector at a higher level. A group of international financial institutions with first-class professional advantages in wealth management, non-performing asset disposal, and pension finance have entered the Chinese market.

Fifth, we have resolutely curbed the disorderly expansion of capital in the financial sector. We have strengthened the supervision of non-financial enterprises investing in financial institutions, and consolidated the firewall between industrial capital and financial capital. We have regularly carried out special campaigns to strengthen oversights of shareholders' equity and related party transactions. We have removed the equity of shareholders who violated rules at high-risk institutions in an orderly fashion, and cracked down on illegal shareholders who maliciously hollowed out financial institutions. Four groups of shareholders in violation of laws and rules have been made public. We have put equal emphasis on regulation and development, and adhered to the principle that financial innovation must be made under prudent supervision. We have given equal treatment to the same types of business and entities, and brought internet-based financial business under regulation in accordance with the law. We have strengthened financial anti-monopoly and anti-unfair competition measures, and regulated business cooperation between licensed institutions and internet platforms to maintain market order.

Sixth, we have continued to advance oversight and regulation in a tough manner. We have exercised full and strict governance over Party members and taken integrated steps to punish financial corruption and prevent and control financial risks. We have ramped up efforts to investigate the financial corruption behind the various problems in the financial sector. We have stepped up efforts to strengthen the rule of financial law, improve the rule of law in the bond market, and unify the basic rules for corporate credit bonds. We have promoted financial stability and accelerated the legislation of financial derivates to manage them with "unified regulations and rules." In 2021, the CBIRC amended and released 14 rules and 44 regulatory documents. In addition, we have made the penalties for violating laws and regulations much more costly. A total of 3,870 punishments were meted out to banking and insurance institutions and 6,005 people responsible were punished last year, with confiscated illicit gains or fines totaling 2.7 billion yuan.

Under the overall deployments of the CPC Central Committee, Party committees or leading Party members groups of the financial authorities and financial institutions at all levels are making great efforts to implement thorough rectification according to the results of the eighth round of disciplinary inspection by the 19th CPC Central Committee. We will fulfill the political responsibilities in this regard. We are now formulating rectification plans, and work to ensure that the plans will be very specific to address all of the problems in a comprehensive manner, following the requirements of the CPC Central Committee to strengthen inspection and rectification and ensure better utilization of the inspection results. We need to make solid efforts to ensure that we can learn by analogy and address both the symptoms and root causes. We will be resolved to push reform, take on responsibility, and establish a long-term mechanism to complete the rectification in a high-standard and strict manner. At the same time, we will also urge the financial enterprises to implement rectification measures and resolve the problems found in fulfilling duties. We will further implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and the plenary sessions of the 19th CPC Central Committee, uphold the leadership of the CPC Central Committee over the financial work and practice the new development philosophy in a thorough, accurate and comprehensive manner. We will ensure that our rectification in response to the disciplinary inspection will enable us to better serve the real economy, prevent and defuse financial risks, and deepen financial reform and opening up to promote high-quality development of the banking and insurance industry, and greet the convening of the upcoming 20th CPC National Congress with concrete actions.

That concludes my introduction. Next, my colleagues and I would like to answer your questions. Thank you all!

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Guo. Now the floor is open for questions. Please identify your media outlet before raising your questions. 

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