China Minsheng Banking Corp (600016.SH, 1988.HKG) said Thursday that it expects to report a more than 50% increase in 2011 profit, likely outpacing many of its larger state-owned rivals, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bank’s faster growth is due to its strategy of lending to China’s typically underserved private sector; about 50% of the bank’s new loans last year were less than RMB5 million (US$790,000). “This is a deep, blue sea for us,” said Dong Wenbiao, Minsheng Bank chairman. The strategy allows the bank to charge much higher interest rates – some Minsheng customers say they are paying 12% interest on a one-year loan This is nearly twice the guidelines set by the central bank, but it is also exposes the bank to more risk, since small private businesses are much more likely to fail. Minsheng, the country’s ninth-largest bank by assets, reported a profit of RMB17.6 billion (US$2.76 billion) in 2010.