BEIJING, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese authorities on Monday demanded increased financial support for private firms, requiring major state-owned banks to target faster growth in loans to small and micro businesses.
Large state-owned lenders should see their loans to small and micro firms borrowing 10 million yuan (about 1.5 million U.S. dollars) or less grow by at least 30 percent this year, according to a policy document released by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC).
Such loans posted an annual increase of over 21 percent last year, already outpacing the overall bank loan growth, according to Wang Zhaoxing, vice chairman of the commission, at a press conference Monday.
The CBIRC document ordered commercial banks to lay out their annual targets on financing private firms by the end of March, noting that lending to these companies will be monitored quarterly.
"Stricter supervision and evaluations will be adopted to ensure that loans to private firms take up a larger share of all new lending to businesses and keep the financing cost at a reasonable level," the document said.
In the process of examining and approving loans, the banks cannot set discriminative requirements for private firms, which should enjoy the same rates and terms of credit as state-owned enterprises do, according to the document.
China has stepped up efforts to create a better business environment for underserved private companies since last year to solve their financing difficulties and shore up the economic growth.