Ping An vows to step up its efforts to control NPAs

By Zhou Mo | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-21 07:38

Ping An Bank said it will step up efforts to control nonperforming assets and strengthen risk management this year, by enhancing loan-providing thresholds and imposing limit management measures on highly risky industries.

Some loan-providing standards are still "imperfect", which make it easier to issue bad loans, said Guo Shibang, assistant president-designate of the Shenzhen-based commercial bank.

"We will make efforts to improve the quality of our bank assets by enhancing the loan-providing threshold in order to control risks for our new business."

The bank will also strengthen risk management of highly risky industries by imposing limits, while continuing to provide support for those with sound operations, Guo said at its 2016 annual results press conference on Friday.

Ping An Bank reported a nonperforming loan ratio of 1.74 percent in 2016, up 0.29 percentage points from the level a year earlier.

Some small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in eastern areas where a large number of SMEs are located, were not able to repay the loans due to declining profits, Guo said.

Ping An Bank set up a new department, as part of a restructuring carried out by new chairman Xie Yonglin who took office last year. The department is focusing on enhancing the efficiency of nonperforming assets recovery and reducing potential risks.

The bank is also increasing the use of new technologies, such as big data, to help enhance its capability of risk management.

"Nonperforming loan ratios among Chinese banks have stayed at a low level, compared with other countries," said Yu Lingqu, a researcher from the Finance and Modern Industry Research Center at the China Development Institute, a Shenzhen-based think tank.

"But a lower level of non-performing loan ratios don't necessarily ensure a higher risk management capability," Yu said.

"This is probably because most of the loans have been provided to large State-owned enterprises, rather than SMEs."

Revenue at Ping An Bank grew 12.01 percent year-on-year to 107.71 billion yuan ($15.6 billion) last year, with net profit reaching 22.60 billion yuan, rising 3.36 percent annually.

The retail business of the bank has grown significantly since it embarked on a strategic transformation in August 2016, focusing more on retail business.

Its number of its retail customers reached nearly 41 million by the end of 2016. Net profit of its retail business surged 147.15 percent year-on-year to 9.32 billion yuan.

Xie said retail transformation was the key strategic direction taken by Ping An Bank and it would actively promote the process to achieve rapid growth of its retail business this year.

The bank will also push forward with the transformation of its corporate business, to turn it from scale-driven growth to one driven by quality and value.

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