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ABC moves to crack down on corruption
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The Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) will impose harsh punishments on its staff in cases of embezzlement, said its president Xiang Junbo.


Sub-branch heads will be forced to quit in cases of embezzlements of over 1 million yuan and for embezzlements of over 10 million yuan, heads of provincial branches will get the boot, as will all other staff members involved.


The president told the Xinhua News Agency the bank will soon set up five special teams to monitor and control the bank's credit and operating risks.


"In the two months that I have taken the current post, my biggest worry has been scandals," the president said, adding risk management is of utmost importance to him.


Xiang said the ABC, the only Big Four bank that remains unlisted, will try to become a top-class global bank in 10 years after it finishes the current share restructure program.


He said the share restructure reform will follow the model of the other three.


Xiang made it clear that the ABC will not lay off employees to cut costs in the course of its share restructuring. "Instead, we will increase the staff's efficiency with training, payment reform and human resource innovation."


The ABC has 450,000 employees across the country, with 220,000 of them working with county-level and rural sub-branches.


A credit service system currently being explored will create a huge demand for employees in the future, according to Xiang. "The system is targeted to provide loans to as much as 250 million farmers."


The ABC reported a 42.3 billion yuan operating profit for the first half of the year, an increase of 64.55 percent over the same period last year, the bank said in a statement last month.


As of the end of June, ABC's bad loan ratio fell 2.09 percentage points from 23.43 percent at the end of last year.


China Daily had reported earlier that State-owned investment company Central Huijin plans to inject $40 billion into ABC to improve the bank's capital adequacy ratio.


(China Daily September 26, 2007)


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