BEIJING, Sept 23 (Reuters) - China has picked veteran banker Zhang Qingsong to lead Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank), the country’s third-largest lender by assets, three sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.
Zhang’s upcoming role, vacant for nearly one year, will be officially announced soon, said the sources, who declined to be named as the matter was confidential.
Since September last year, Zhang has served as president at one of the country’s two policy banks, the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM). Before that, he had served 28 years at Bank of China.
One of Zhang’s first tasks will be to steady AgBank’s profitability as well as guard against financial risks and bad-loan growth as the Chinese economy slows. In the first half of 2019, AgBank saw its net interest margin, a key measure of profitability, dropping 19 basis points to 2.16% from a year earlier.
The appointment is still pending regulatory, shareholder and board approvals, said one of the sources.
Separately, it “will take a while” until the next EXIM Bank president will be appointed, another source said.
EXIM Bank and AgBank did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. (Reporting by Cheng Leng, Rong Ma and Ryan Woo; Editing by Rashmi Aich)