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

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  • Richard Podpiera

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Podpiera, 2006. "Progress in China’s Banking Sector Reform; Has Bank Behavior Changed?," IMF Working Papers 06/71, International Monetary Fund.
  • 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. Park, Albert & Sehrt, Kaja, 2001. "Tests of Financial Intermediation and Banking Reform in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 608-644, December.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
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