China’s banking regulator ordered banks to write off bad loans caused by the May 12 earthquake in order to reduce the debt burden on survivors and help overall reconstruction, state media reported. "If borrowers suffered huge losses that can’t be covered by insurance … the loans should be regarded as bad loans and written off in a timely manner," the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said. The CBRC and the People’s Bank of China previously urged banks to extend loan maturities and not to push for loan repayment if debtors in quake-hit regions fall behind in payments. Zhang Yun, vice president of Agricultural Bank of China, said the preliminary estimate for the bank’s bad loans from the earthquake was US$863 million. Banks have agreed to lend US$11.9 billion to Sichuan province for relief and reconstruction.
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