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PBOC eases financing procedures for businesses nationwide

Chen Jia
Updated: Jul 31,2019 08:32 AM    China Daily

After waiting for two hours in a bank, Wang Houqiang, the manager of a high-tech startup in Fuzhou, Fujian province, successfully opened a bank account for the newly established company much faster than he thought.

Wang is a manager of the financial department of Fujian Biqu Internet Technology Ltd. The company recently developed a mobile app that provides information and tours to the Philippines for Chinese divers.

"I thought it might take at least six days to open the bank account. But this time, the streamlined and fast procedure surprised me," said Wang, whose company wanted to start the business as soon as the bank account was opened.

"Before Wang arrived in the bank, we have already received the materials for bank account approval online which can save a lot of time for our clients," said Xiong Hongying, general manager of the Operational Management Department of Industrial Bank.

Other commercial banks in East China's Fujian province can open bank accounts for companies without getting permission from the central bank since April 28. Companies can start receiving and paying funds through those accounts once they are approved by commercial banks.

That is part of a nationwide reform led by the People's Bank of China, the central bank. Fujian province was once one of the first pilot regions that tried out the new measure.

Canceling permissions from the PBOC is also part of the government's reform measures this year to "delegate power, streamline administration and optimize government services" to maximize the business environment for enterprises.

The reform was promoted by Premier Li Keqiang at a meeting in December 2018.

The measure supports small and micro enterprises, promoting their access to financial services, PBOC officials said.

Since July 22, all of provinces on the Chinese mainland had implemented the new rules some five months ahead of schedule, the central bank said.

"The central bank will enhance regulations after the bank accounts are opened to prevent financial risks," said Xu Jiayin, vice-president of the PBOC's Fuzhou branch.

The Fuzhou branch has built an electronic system that collects bank account information, including legal representatives' ID, business registration information and tax payment records to make sure that the accounts are for actual and legal businesses. This will prevent electronic fraud and money laundering, said Xu.

By the end of June, the PBOC's Fuzhou branch has checked more than 92,000 newly opened bank accounts, with 5,073 accounts failing to meet its requirements, the official added.

Yan Fang, deputy head of the Payment and Settlement Department of the PBOC, said at a media conference last week that the simplified procedure does not mean an easing of regulations and the central bank will continue to prevent financial risks through prudent bank management.

"Bank account management is the first line of defense to curb illegal activities such as money laundering and electronic fraud," she said.

Since the launch of the pilot programs, commercial banks have noticed and curbed risks in the opening of bank accounts when some companies provided false information or suspicious registered addresses, said a document from the PBOC.

"The central bank, in the meantime, will launch a supervisory system to monitor the growth of companies' accounts," said Yan.

Some illegal activities on opening bank accounts have been investigated by local public security agencies. Those include the illegal trading of companies' bank accounts and fraudulently transferring funds through company accounts.

"These activities are the focus for regulation," said Yao Zuming, head of the payment and settlement department of the PBOC's Fuzhou branch.

Yao said commercial banks in Fuzhou have been opening "Green Channels" for small and micro enterprises to make it easier for them to open bank accounts. Small enterprises can book the account opening service through websites or mobile apps.

In Fujian province, 127 commercial bank branches have opened electronic channels for booking the service, he added.

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