Although China's banking industry has made significant progress in reform and opening up to the outside world contradictions like unbalanced development remained clear, according to Vice Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) Tang Shuangning. Tang made the remarks during his speech at the opening ceremony of the 21st Century Asian Financial Year held in Beijing on November 25.
Through reform and opening up to the outside world, the number of Chinese banks attaining the required standards of adequate capital had increased to 66 by the end of this September from eight at the end of 2003, according to CBRC.
Bad loan balance and ratio have both dropped, non-performing loan provisioning coverage ratio has increased by a big margin and average capital profit ratio has reached 9.41 percent. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of China and the China Construction Bank have entered the ranks of the world's top 10 big banks. "The achievement is hard-earned and remarkable," Tang said.
While making historical progress in reform and development, China's banking industry was facing five big challenges. Tang described them.
Competition: December 11, 2006 will mark the end of the transitional period since China joined the World Trade Organization five years ago. Foreign banks will enjoy national treatment by then. While introducing advanced management experience to the Chinese banking industry, they'll at the same time "get down to brass tacks" to launch direct competition with domestic banks in seeking out high-grade consumers, retail industry customers and opportunities in coastal areas by taking advantage of their own advanced management technology. "Chinese banks must be all set for the competition," Tang said.
Management: Even carrying out shareholding reforms, some Chinese banks still haven't formed completely effective management, scientific stipulation and capital risk restraint mechanisms. Divisions of responsibilities, rights and interests still required to be standardized. "These may become the 'soft rib' to some Chinese banks," Tang predicted.
Risk: Chinese banks' management capabilities on financial risk remain to be strengthened, especially their discernment or monitoring and controlling capabilities to market and operational risks as they've just started in this area of business. "They must attach great importance to the problem," Tang warned.
Renovation: There's still a big gap in financial creative capabilities and service standards between Chinese banks and their foreign counterparts, Tang said. Chinese banks were comparatively weak in pricing risks and managing information. The poor quality of Chinese administrative staff meant it was difficult to meet creative and competitive requirements. "The contradictions and problems remain to be solved," Tang said.
Credit: The outside environment for the existence and development of Chinese banks awaited further improvement. It included surplus mobility of capitals, great pressure on profit making, limited channels for poor asset handling, lack of independent rights to cancel bad loans after verification and weaknesses in the sense of social credit. "Different banks have different behaviors in handling the problems so the reform of the Chinese banking industry must advance in classification," Tang added.
(Xinhua News Agency, translated by Li Jingrong for China.org.cn, November 29, 2006)