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China Top Lender Ensures 15% Small Firm Loan Growth in 3 Years

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The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country's largest commercial lender, pledged on Thursday its loans for small companies would grow by more than 15 percent in the coming three years.

The ICBC did not specify the loan growth rate in this sector for each year from 2009 to 2011.

Figures from the Beijing-based bank revealed loans for small companies reached 282 billion yuan (US$41.2 billion) from January to October this year, up 9.8 percent year on year.

By the end of this September, the total amount of small company clients topped 47,274 in the ICBC, accounting for 55 percent of the bank's total clients.

Financing difficulty has long been a bottleneck to Chinese small companies. Some of them were also hit hard by the global financial crisis, as they weren't prepared to handle external risks.

China's State Council, or the Cabinet, said last Wednesday it would adopt more favorable policies so as to encourage the country's commercial banks to grant more loans for supporting economic growth and give better finance services to small and medium-sized companies.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2008)