Banks target rural regions to improve the lives of villagers
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.
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.