China’s five big banks see faster profit growth

Updated: Apr 7, 2018 Xinhua Print
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BEIJING — China's five major banks reported faster net profit growth and lower bad loan rates in 2017.

The country's biggest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), saw its net profit up by 3 percent in 2017, while Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Bank of Communications all posted 4-percent-plus growth.

The five banks registered less than 2 percent or even negative growth in 2016.

Zeng Gang with the China Academy of Social Sciences attributed the growth to improved asset quality and rising net interest margins.

Many firms are more capable of paying back their loans as supply-side reform has helped their financial performance, easing the pressure on banks, Zeng added.

The non-performing loan rates of the five banks all fell last year, the first time in six years.

The banking regulator decided last month to lower required provision coverage ratio, a measure of funds set aside to cover bad loans. But four of the five banks raised their provision coverage ratio as their asset quality improved.

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