Agricultural Bank of China (ABC, 601288.SH, 1288.HK) rapidly increased its micro-credit lending to Chinese farmers in the first quarter of 2010, state media reported. ABC lent US$12.2 billion to farmers in the first half of 2010, compared to US$9 billion for the entire year of 2009. The micro-credit program began in 2008, and makes small loans of RMB3,000-50,000 (US$443-US$7,380) to farmers. An ABC spokesperson said that program has provided funding to 15 million farmers across the country, but the micro-credit programs are still only a small portion of the bank’s total lending. The report in the state media comes alongside news of ABC’s recent IPO in Hong Kong, which underperformed analysts’ forecasts.
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