The presidents of China's three biggest banks said that they planned to place more emphasis on personal loans and credit cards,as these were better risks than lending to larger state-owned enterprises, reported Bloomberg. The president of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Jiang Jianqing, said that individuals, who held about 11 per cent of his bank's Yn2,800bn in
outstanding loans, had a default rate of about 0.2 per cent, compared with almost 25 per cent for state-owned companies.
By 2005, the banks plan to go public to raise the capital required to comply with a central bank directive requiring them to hold in reserve sufficient funds to cover their nonperforming loans, which must by then make up no more than 15 per cent of their total loans. Liu Mingkang of the Bank of China said that his bank would be ready for a public listing in three years. Zhang Enzhao of China Construction Bank said that his institution was considering many ways of raising capital, but direct foreign investment was an unavoidable trend. His bank is considering listing in New York as well as in Shanghai and Hong Kong.