August 15, 2019 / 8:12 AM / 2 months ago

Ex-regulatory exec to head Tianjin bank as China steps up governance

BEIJING, Aug 15 (Reuters) - A former senior official at a Chinese financial regulator has been named chairman of Tianjin Rural Commercial Bank, the lender said, as more government officials take top roles at regional lenders to improve corporate governance.

Tianjin Rural Commercial was among eight banking institutions warned by the top Communist Party official of Tianjin city in May, for having “lost morality” and “seriously violating the Party’s rules and discipline,” according to a post by the country’s graft-buster.

Discipline violation is a common euphemism for corruption.

The bank was put in the spotlight since last May when its former chairman Yin Jinbao was found dead in his office after the national anti-graft commission began looking into the bank, local media reported.

Xu Qinghong, a former deputy of the policy bank department at the China Banking and Insurance Regulation Commission (CBIRC), was named by Tianjin Rural Commercial’s board members as its new chairman on Aug. 8, a filing from its official website showed.

The appointment is still pending final approval from the CBIRC, the bank said.

Facing liquidity issues and mounting corporate governance risks, three Chinese regional banks have been bailed out or restructured by state funds in less than three months.

Following a surprise state-led takeover of little-known Inner Mongolia-based Baoshang Bank, central and local financial regulators have taken an array of measures from injecting state-led strategic investments into the banks to dispatching former regulators or state bank executives to improve governance of banks.

For the three months ended March, Tianjin Rural Commercial posted a net profit of 775.56 million yuan ($110.41 million), up 14.58% from a year earlier, according to its quarterly report. Its bad loan ratio stood at 2.46% as of March, above the 1.81% average for the banking sector at end-June.

$1 = 7.0246 Chinese yuan Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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