Banks tar­get ru­ral re­gions to im­prove the lives of vil­lagers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By CHEN MEILING chen­meil­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese banks have in­creased their ser­vices in poor ru­ral ar­eas by open­ing up of­fices, ATMs and on­line plat­forms as well as mak­ing doorto-door calls.

The 2016 Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity Re­port, which was re­leased by the China Bank­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, looked at the in­dus­try’s pres­ence in 542,000 vil­lages across the coun­try.

Mo­bile ser­vice ve­hi­cles have lit­er­ally trans­formed the lives of vil­lages in re­mote ar­eas.

“The mo­bile fi­nan­cial ser­vice ve­hi­cle al­lows me to draw my pen­sion ev­ery month,” said Tser­ing Dun­drop, a herds­man from Ji­ayi vil­lage in the Ti­betan au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture of Hainan in north­west­ern Qing­hai prov­ince.

“I used to spend a whole day tak­ing buses to the county where the Postal Sav­ings Bank of China was lo­cated,” he added. “But now I can get my money from the bank’s mo­bile ve­hi­cle.”

The ser­vice was rolled out in 2011 and means 103 vil­lagers, in­clud­ing Tser­ing Dun­drop, can use it to take out money or con­duct other trans­ac­tions.

An­nu­ally, mo­bile bank ve­hi­cles clock up 150,000 kilo­me­ters as they travel through five agri­cul­tural and pas­toral ar­eas of Qing­hai prov­ince.

Apart from tra­di­tional re­tail bank­ing, they pro­vide ser­vices for buy­ing agri­cul­tural prod­ucts and pay­ing gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies. Tablet com­put­ers can be used to or­der bank cards, ap­ply for loans or make re­mit­tance pay­ments.

Pan Guang­wei, ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent of China Bank­ing As­so­ci­a­tion, con­firmed at a news con­fer­ence last month that the re­port il­lus­trated how the tech­nol­ogy gap was clos­ing in ru­ral ar­eas,

“Banks are quick­en­ing their pace to con­struct in­clu­sive fi­nan­cial sys­tems in poor re­gions with more in­no­va­tive meth­ods,” Pan said about the sur­vey, which shows that ba­sic fi­an­cial ser­vices are in place in at least 95 per­cent of vil­lages in China.

In the moun­tain­ous ar­eas of Lu’an in Eastern An­hui prov­ince, bank clerks visit cus­tomers at home in teams of three.

This door-to-door ser­vice al­lows vil­lagers to de­posit or with­draw money by us­ing a small, mo­bile PCs as well as dis­cuss other fi­nan­cial mat­ters with the bank of­fi­cials.

Last year, out­stand­ing agri­cul­tural and ru­ral loans owed to Chi­nese banks to­taled 28.2 tril­lion yuan ($4.16 tril­lion), a 7.1 per­cent in­crease com­pared to 2015.

Many of these loans were to sup­port en­tre­pre­neur­ial farm­ers in­volved in new prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, tra­di­tional farm­ing and tourism, the re­port high­lighted.

Huang Jie, vice-pres­i­dent of Citibank (China), pointed out that the sus­tain­able bam-

I used to spend a whole day tak­ing buses to the county where the Postal Sav­ings Bank of China was lo­cated. But now I can get my money from the bank’s mo­bile ve­hi­cle.” Tser­ing Dun­drop, a herds­man from Ji­ayi vil­lage of the Ti­betan au­ton­o­mous pre­fec­ture of Hainan in North­west China’s Qing­hai prov­ince

boo en­ter­prises project, which was launched in Sichuan prov­ince in 2009, had been a big suc­cess.

“It was then pro­moted in Zhe­jiang prov­ince and has helped in­crease the wages of more than 50,000 low-in­come in­di­vid­u­als by about 30 per­cent per year up to 2016,” he said.

The 2008 Wenchuan Earth­quake in South­west China’s Sichuan prov­ince caused large-scale de­struc­tion.

“The project helped vic­tims to make their lives bet­ter by pro­vid­ing train­ing classes about the pro­cess­ing tech­nol­ogy of bam­boo prod­ucts,” Huang said. “It also helped fi­nance the con­struc­tion of small and medium-sized lo­cal bam­boo com­pa­nies.”

Sichuan and Zhe­jiang have ex­ten­sive bam­boo re­sources, which have stim­u­lated eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in the re­gions.

The project has also been backed by the In­ter­na­tional Net­work for Bam­boo and Rat­tan.

By rolling out pro­grams like these, banks can help fi­nance in­no­va­tion in poor re­gions.

“We can pro­duce credit en­hance­ment sys­tems, es­tab­lish re­lated funds or pro­vide soft loans for poverty al­le­vi­a­tion projects, as well as de­vel­op­ing e-com­merce busi­ness,” Pan of the China Bank­ing As­so­ci­a­tion said.

Last year, the first pri­vatepub­lic ‘ so­cial im­pact’ bonds, worth up to 500 mil­lion yuan, were is­sued.

These will be used to help im­prove em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, public ser­vices, in­fra­struc­ture and es­tab­lish pho­to­voltaic power sta­tions in Yi­nan county in East China’s Shan­dong prov­ince.

“The Chi­nese bank­ing in­dus­try has played an ac­tive role in tar­get­ing poverty al­le­vi­a­tion through public-pri­vate part­ner­ships and in­clu­sive fi­nance with the em­pha­sis on sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment,” said Sun Jirong, a so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity ex­pert in Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity in Bei­jing.

PRO­VIDED BY AGRI­CUL­TURAL DE­VEL­OP­MENT BANK OF CHINA

Agri­cul­tural De­vel­op­ment Bank of China pro­vided a loan up to 60 mil­lion yuan ($8.8 mil­lion) last year to build a steel lad­der up a cliff at Atuleer vil­lage in South­west China’s Sichuan prov­ince to re­place the pre­vi­ous cane lad­der.

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