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No Timetable for Listing of Major Two State Commercial Banks

Although no timetable has been set for two of China's big four state-owned commercial banks to be listed, efforts will be made to turn the Bank of China and Construction Bank of China into modern commercial banks in three years, the head of the country's banking industry watchdog said Thursday. 


They will be turned into internationally competitive joint-stock commercial banks featuring capital adequacy, strict internal control, safe operation, and good performance, said Liu Mingkang, president of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).


The Chinese government, for the first time in history, injected US$45 billion of its foreign exchange reserve in the two banks to help increase their capital adequacy ratio earlier this year.


"But the key to success lies in the transformation of their operational mechanism," Liu said at a press conference held on the sidelines of the on-going annual session of the national legislature.


This means the two banks should establish a good corporate governance structure, introduce overseas strategic investors, map out a clear-cut development strategy and cultivate a sound risk control and internal control mechanism, he added.


As for when the two banks will be listed, Liu said, "it is against the law" to disclose any timetable or plan prior to official consent of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.


The CBRC president spoke highly of the role of the four assets management companies, formed in 1998, in promoting the banking reform in the country, saying they had contributed to lowering the non-performing loans of the big four state-owned commercial banks by 10 percentage points in 1999-2000.


The other two of the Big Four are Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Agricultural Bank of China.


Liu said these assets management companies also helped thousands of Chinese companies have their debts reduced by an average of 20 percentage points and helped brew an assets management market in the country.


"They will continue to play a role in the disposal of the non-performing assets of the big four state-owned commercial banks in accordance with market law," Liu said.


(Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2004)



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