In the following questions, read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words/phrases are given in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions. Over the past few days alone. the China’s central bank has pumped extra cash into the financial system and cut interest rates. The aim is to free more cash for banks to lend and provide a boost for banks seeking to improve the return on their
assets. The official data though, suggested that bad loans make up only 1.4% of their balance sheets. How to explain the discrepancy? One possible answer is that bad loans are a tagging indicator i.e. it is only after the economy has struggled for while that borrowers began to suffer. Looked at this way, China is trying to
anticipate problems keeping its banks in good health by susteining economic growth of nearly 7% year on year. Another more worrying possibility is that bad loans are worse than official data indicate. This does not look to be the cause for China’s biggest banks, which are managed conservatively and largely focus on the county’s biggest value and quality borrowers. But there is mounting evidence that when it comes to smaller banks, especially those yet to list on the stock market, bad loans piling up. That is important because unlisted lenders account for
just over a third of the Chinese banking sector, making them as big as Japan’s entire banking industry.
Although, non-performing loans have edged up slowly, the increase in specialmention loans (a category that includes those overdue but not yet classified as impaired loans.) has been much bigger. Special-mention loans are about 2% at most of China’s big listed banks, suggesting that such loans must be much higher at
their smaller, unlisted peers. Many of these loans are simple bad debts which banks have not yet admitted to. Another troubling fact is that fifteen years ago, the government created asset-management companies (often referred to as badbanks) to take on the non-performing loans of the lenders. After the initial transfer
these companies had little to pay. But, last year, Cinda, the biggest of the bad banks, bought nearly 150 billion Yuan ($24 billion) of distressed assets last year, two-thirds more than in 2013. These assets would have raised the banks badloans ratio by a few tenths of a percentage point. Although such numbers do not seem very alarming, experts who reviewed last year’s results for 158 banks, of which only 20 are listed found that “shadow loans”, loans recorded as investments which may be a disguise for bad loans have grown to as much as 5.7 billion Yuan, or 5 of the industry’s assets. These are heavily concentrated on the balance sheets of smaller-unlisted banks, and at the very least, all this points to a need for recapitalisation of small banks.

Question 20

What is the author’s view regarding small banks?

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