China's second largest State-owned commercial bank by assets is stepping up its efforts to foster new drivers of growth, such as consumer finance, green lending and financial services related to home leasing.
As of the end of 2017, China Construction Bank Corp recorded a 157 percent growth in personal consumer loans from the previous year to 192.7 billion yuan (.6 billion). Its green lending, which aims to reduce pollution and to support environmentally friendly businesses, also increased by 13 percent to more than 1 trillion yuan, according to the bank's annual results announced on Wednesday.
"Consumption has become an increasingly strong driving force for economic growth, and we consider retail banking－especially consumer finance－as a very important direction that bank loans will head for," said Wang Zuji, president of China Construction Bank, at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday.
Nowadays, with the establishment of multi layer capital markets that offer plenty of wealth management solutions, the savings rate will certainly decline and therefore, commercial banks will face increasing challenges in finding sources of funds at a low cost, Wang said.
"Our bank has kept trying to acquire low-cost funds through the development of retail banking," he added.
The bank is also taking action to develop its competitive advantage in emerging business, such as offering financial and other services related to home leasing, which is believed to have great development potential due to China's urbanization and regulatory tightening to cool the housing market.
"We are trying to encourage individuals, companies and government institutions to lease their vacant second or third homes for longer terms, varying from three to 10 years, in addition to persuading real estate developers to lease, rather than sell, some of their hous-es," Pang Xiusheng, executive vice-president of CCB, said at a news conference on March 22.
In January, the bank launched a pilot program in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, to assess the rate of return for leasing individual homes during the next three to 10 years. If the homeowners are satisfied with the results of assessment, the bank will help them to sign contracts for the transfer of the rights to operate home leases with home rental companies.
As of March 22, 408 homeowners in Guangzhou have filed applications for leasing their homes with the help of CCB.
According to its announcement of annual results, CCB realized a net profit of 243.62 billion yuan last year, up 4.83 percent from 2016. At the end of 2017, its nonperforming loan ratio dropped 3 basis points year-on-year to 1.49 percent. Its NPL ratio for consumer loans was only 0.27 percent and that for green lending was 0.42 percent.