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Small banks' bond floats to quench capital thirst

2020-3-13 14:33

A teller wearing a facial mask counts cash at a bank branch in Nantong, Jiangsu province. [Photo by Xu Jinbai/For China Daily]

 

Small and medium-sized commercial banks will be encouraged to issue perpetual bonds to augment their capital requirements and increase lending to small businesses, according to the banking and insurance regulator.

 

A perpetual bond is a bond without a maturity date. The instruments are nonredeemable, but offer steady returns.

 

Since the beginning of this year, five unlisted city commercial lenders, namely Guilin Bank Co Ltd, Guangxi Beibu Gulf Bank Co Ltd, Bank of Huzhou Co Ltd, Bank of Dongguan Co Ltd, and Huarong Xiangjiang Bank Co Ltd, have received regulatory approval for the issuance of perpetual bonds totaling 18 billion yuan ($2.6 billion).

 

Postal Savings Bank of China Co Ltd, a large State-owned commercial lender, and Bank of Jiangsu Co Ltd, a regional joint-stock commercial lender headquartered in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, also received the green light this year to issue up to 80 billion yuan and 20 billion yuan of perpetual bonds, respectively.

 

"We will offer more policy support to small and medium-sized banks in terms of capital replenishment, with the aim of strengthening banks' overall capacity to supply credit and further promoting development of the real economy," said Liu Guoqiang, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank.

 

"The PBOC will encourage commercial banks to replenish capital by taking various measures and to explore innovative instruments in this regard," Liu said at a news conference on Feb 27.

 

To support banks' capital replenishment demands, the PBOC conducted two central bank bill swaps totaling 11 billion yuan over the last two months. The bill swaps allow dealers to swap the perpetual bonds they hold for central bank bills, which will effectively boost market demand for perpetual bonds but have a neutral impact on liquidity in the banking system.

 

Last year, 15 banks, including five large State-owned commercial lenders and seven national joint-stock commercial lenders, issued perpetual bonds amounting to 569.6 billion yuan. They were joined by a growing number of small regional banks this year.

 

"China will step up support for small and medium-sized banks by launching a 'green passage' scheme to help replenish capital and accelerate efforts to introduce new strategic investors," said Xiao Yuanqi, chief risk officer and spokesperson of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

 

Other central government departments and local governments will also take measures to enhance the capabilities of small and medium-sized banks in giving further support to small businesses, which account for a major part of enterprises affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak in China. As small businesses are major clients of small and medium-sized regional banks, the epidemic has put some strain on these banks, Xiao said.

 

Till now, regulatory indicators such as the capital adequacy ratio and the liquidity coverage ratio have shown that small regional banks are capable of providing further financing and other financial services to small businesses. However, considering that it will take a while to see the real impact of the epidemic on these banks, financial regulators must take proactive measures to ensure that small banks can maintain the capabilities, he said.

 

China issued a notice on March 1, calling for banks to provide certain micro, small and medium-sized enterprises with temporary extensions on repayments for loans that mature after Jan 25, with a maximum extension period until June 30, to avoid the capital chain rupture of major clients of small banks.

 

江苏省南通市一家银行的出纳员戴着口罩数钱。[徐锦白/中国日报]


银行和保险监管机构表示,将鼓励中小商业银行发行永久性债券,以提高资本金要求,并增加对小企业的贷款。


永久债券是没有到期日的债券。这些工具是不可赎回的,但提供稳定的回报。


自今年年初以来,五个未上市的城市商业银行,即桂林银行有限公司,广西北部湾银行有限公司、湖州银行有限公司,东莞银行有限公司、华融湘江银行有限公司,已获得监管部门批准,可以永久债券的发行总额180亿元人民币(合26亿美元)。


大型国有商业银行中国邮政储蓄银行股份有限公司和总部位于江苏省南京市的区域性股份制商业银行江苏银行股份有限公司今年也获准分别发行了800亿元和200亿元的永久债券。


中国人民银行副行长刘国强表示:“我们将在资金补充方面为中小银行提供更多的政策支持,目的是增强银行的整体信贷供应能力,进一步促进实体经济的发展。”


2月27日,刘在新闻发布会上表示:“中国人民银行将采取多种措施鼓励商业银行补充资本,并在这方面探索创新工具。”


为了支持银行的资金补充需求,中国人民银行在过去两个月进行了两笔总计110亿元人民币的央行票据掉期交易。票据掉期允许交易商将其持有的永久债券换成央行票据,这将有效提振市场对永久债券的需求,但对银行体系的流动性产生中性影响。


去年,包括5家大型国有商业银行和7家全国性股份制商业银行在内的15家银行共发行了5696亿元的永久债券。今年,越来越多的小型地区性银行加入了它们的行列。


中国银行保险监督管理委员会首席风险官兼发言人肖元奇表示:“中国将通过推出‘绿色通道’计划,加大对中小银行的支持力度,以帮助它们补充资本金,并加快引入新的战略投资者。”


其他中央政府部门和地方政府也将采取措施,提高中小银行进一步支持小企业的能力。中小企业占中国受新型冠状病毒疫情影响企业的主要部分。肖表示,由于小企业是中小型地区银行的主要客户,这场疫情给这些银行带来了一些压力。


到目前为止,资本充足率、流动性覆盖率等监管指标表明,小型区域性银行有能力为小企业提供进一步融资等金融服务。不过,他表示,考虑到疫情对这些银行的真正影响还需要一段时间,金融监管机构必须采取积极措施,确保小银行能够保持这种能力。


中国于3月1日发布通知,要求银行对1月25日以后到期的部分中小微企业贷款给予临时延期还款,最长延期期限为6月30日,以避免小银行大客户资金链断裂。

 

原作者: Jiang Xueqing 来自: china daily