China issued revised performance evaluation indexes for commercial banks to better support their operations and serve the real economy.
The Ministry of Finance said on Monday that it had added new items to the indexes to evaluate the performance of commercial banks in terms of serving the country’s development goals and the real economy, the part of the economy that produces goods and services.
The areas of focus include green lending, loans to strategic emerging industries and loans to micro and small enterprises with total credit lines of up to 10 million yuan ($1.55 million) per borrower.
“Earlier, China paid greater attention to banks’ financial indexes such as short-term returns and scale expansion. But now the country is more focused on their social benefits, including how well they implement macroeconomic policies and support the real economy, to prevent banks from overly pursuing short-term interests, which caused liquidity to flow from the real economy to the virtual economy and may lead to more financial risks in the long run,” said Zeng Gang, deputy director-general of the National Institution for Finance and Development.
The Ministry of Finance pointed out the direction of development for commercial banks from the perspective of corporate governance. The adjusted performance evaluation indexes will have a significant effect on banks by changing the orientation and patterns of their behavior on a deeper level, he said.
Apart from highlighting comprehensive economic benefits gained by banks from serving China’s macroeconomic strategies, the country also put greater emphasis on high-quality development of commercial banks by introducing new indexes, such as banks’ net profit per capita, to the performance evaluation system, with the aim of guiding banks to accelerate transformation of their development models, step up self-reliant innovation, and improve their efficiency and value creation capabilities, said an official of the Ministry of Finance in a written reply to media queries posted on the ministry website.
“The adjusted indexes not only strike a balance between banks’ short-term development and steady growth for the long term, but also strike a balance among various goals … to ensure that banks will achieve sustainable high-quality development while responding better to macroeconomic policies at the same time,” Zeng said.
The ministry also stated clearly that banks will lose points or be downgraded in case of major risk events or if they set up subsidiaries in a disorderly manner.
Under the new performance evaluation system, banks will pay more attention to risk prevention and control. While accelerating their own development and improving profitability, banks will also stress steady and sustainable development amid the economic growth slowdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dong Ximiao, chief researcher at Merchants Union Consumer Finance Co Ltd.
China will further promote supply-side structural reform in the financial sector, optimize the loan structure of banks, and support financing for key areas of economic development and weak links of the economy, such as small businesses, agriculture, rural areas and farmers, said financial regulatory officials.