Chinese banks should focus on clients for higher profit

Feng Jianmin
Reform in the industry should also reduce reliance on capital expansion
Feng Jianmin

Banks in China should focus on clients to pursue higher profit and reduce reliance on capital expansion as part of reforms in the industry, McKinsey said in a report today.

Banks will usually spend between 5 and 15 years on reforms in order to improve asset quality, said John Qu, senior partner of McKinsey & Company.

"Reforms in China's banking industry is an all-out battle that involves retail, corporate, asset management, organization, information technology, and risk management risks," said Qu. "Banks need to focus on all these six sectors to ensure success."

Profit growth of Chinese banks hit a brake in the past five years amid interest rate liberalisation, slower economic growth, and tighter regulation against leverage.

The overall profit growth in the banking industry slowed from 13.1 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2013 to 4.6 percent in the first three months of this year, data from the China Banking Regulatory Commission showed.

McKinsey said Chinese banks will have to prioritize improving client experience across retail, corporate, and asset management units as part of their reform process, according to McKinsey's quarterly Chinese banking industry CEO report.

Banks should use big data to explore potential clients for its retail banking, offer smaller companies comprehensive financial solutions, and expand intermediary services for other institutions, the report said.

Qu said revenue contribution from a single bank client will increase more than 20 times if a bank can sell the client four products instead of one.

Banks can improve risk management and potentially reduce bad loans by paying greater attention to retail and corporate clients, Qu added.

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