Overall best national retail bank 2019
Agricultural Bank of China
Despite its massive operations, ABC has proved itself to be a nimble player in transforming and strengthening its retail banking business with the use of technology and a management upgrade. That enabled the bank to outperform other state-owned banks across segments of retail banking in the first three quarters of 2018.
For years, ABC has made steady progress in centralizing the management of its retail banking network across China by upgrading its online platforms. And with the help of fintech, it has also greatly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of its marketing and sales for retail banking services.
Such efforts have paid off nicely for the bank under the watch of Zhai Mingshu, deputy general manager of ABC’s personal banking department.
For the first three quarters of 2018, the bank recorded robust growth in outstanding retail deposits and loans. At the end of September, it became the first Chinese bank with outstanding retail deposits topping Rmb10 trillion ($1.5 trillion). The bank also posted stronger growth in retail loans than other state-owned commercial banks: its outstanding retail loans rose more than 17% from a year earlier, to exceed Rmb4.5 trillion by the end of September.
Thanks to effective marketing strategies, ABC’s credit card business continued to grow last year. For the first half of 2018, the total number of credit cards issued by the bank increased by more than 8.5 million to 93.3 million and the transaction volume generated by its credit cards jumped 22.2% year on year to Rmb842.2 billion during the period.
Backed by its robust retail banking operations, ABC’s net profit rose 7.3% year on year for the first three quarters of 2018, the fastest profit increase recorded by a state-owned bank for the period.
While rapidly growing its retail bank businesses, ABC did a good job of controlling associated risks. By the end of September, the bank’s overall non-performing loan ratio dropped 0.21 percentage points to 1.6%. According to the latest available data, the default rate of its credit cards decreased to 1.96% at the end of June 2018 from nearly 2% a year earlier.