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Progress in China’s Banking Sector Reform: Has Bank Behavior Changed?

  • Richard Podpiera

Substantial effort has been devoted to reforming China's banking system in recent years. The authorities recapitalized three large state-owned banks, introduced new governance structures, and brought in foreign strategic investors. However, it remains unclear the extent to which currently reported data reflect the true credit risk in loan portfolios and whether lending decisions have started to be taken on a commercial basis. We examine lending growth, credit pricing, and regional patterns in lending from 1997 through 2004 to look for evidence of changing behavior of the large state-owned commercial banks (SCBs). We find that the SCBs have slowed down credit expansion, but that the pricing of credit risk remains undifferentiated and banks do not appear to take enterprise profitability into account when making lending decisions. Controlling for several factors, we find that large SCBs have continued to lose market share to other financial institutions in provinces with more profitable enterprises. The full impact of the most recent reforms will become clear only in several years, however, and these issues should be revisited in future research.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 06/71.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/71
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  1. Boyreau-Debray, Genevieve & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Pitfalls of a State-Dominated Financial System: The Case of China," CEPR Discussion Papers 4471, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2000. "Bureaucrats, State Banks, and the Efficiency of Credit Allocation: The Experience of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31, March.
  3. Albert Park and Kaja Sehrt & Albert Park and Kaja Sehrt, 1999. "Tests of Financial Intermediation and Banking Reform in China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 270, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Wei, Shang-Jin & Wang, Tao, 1997. "The siamese twins: Do state-owned banks favor state-owned enterprises in China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 19-29.
  5. Cull, Robert & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2003. "Who gets credit? The behavior of bureaucrats and state banks in allocating credit to Chinese state-owned enterprises," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 533-559, August.
  6. International Monetary Fund, 2005. "People’s Republic of China: Staff Report for the 2005 Article IV Consultation," IMF Staff Country Reports 05/411, International Monetary Fund.
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