Exclusive: China banks warned against “extreme” lending

Lending by Chinese banks during the past two years has been excessively fast, topping the “extreme upper limit” set by regulators, the country’s banking chief said at an internal meeting, a source told Reuters on Tuesday.

The unusually sharp warning by Liu Mingkang, head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, highlighted deepening official unease about the threat that rampant credit growth poses to the Chinese financial sector and the broader economy.

Liu said that “irrational factors” in the Chinese real estate market had increased and that credit risks were accumulating, according to the source who attended a CBRC internal meeting.

Liu also warned banks that they could not extend or roll over loans this year to local government financing vehicles when they expire, the source said. China has been trying to clean up local governments’ books after they incurred piles of debt in the course of stimulating the economy to recover from the global financial crisis.

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