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China Retail Banking Awards

Best state-owned retail bank 2018

Agricultural Bank of China

Agricultural Bank of China, which operates one of the largest networks in China among domestic banks, has demonstrated a strong commitment to transforming its traditional retail banking operations and has made solid progress towards achieving that goal.

It has been enthusiastic in adopting technology to upgrade its retail banking operations. It was the first Chinese bank to use facial recognition in retail banking. By the end of 2017, more than 7,000 of its ATMs had been equipped with the technology, and the bank is planning to deploy it in all its ATMs across China in the near future.

Under president Zhao Huan, ABC has turned increasingly to digital channels, especially smartphones, to market its credit cards. It has achieved remarkable success on that front. In 2017, as many as 74% of new credit card applications were made through its digital channels, and it issued 3.2 million credit cards to customers who had applied that way, 5.5 times the tally of 2016.

The bank has also played a big role in boosting financial inclusion through its extensive network in China’s rural areas. From the start of 2016 to November 2017, it loaned out Rmb241 billion ($38 billion) to 8.2 million customers in rural China.

ABC has yet to disclose more information on its performance in 2017, but the latest available statistics show that the bank outperformed other state-owned Chinese banks in attracting saving deposits from retail clients and growing the customer base for credit cards for the first nine months of 2017 .

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