Nation’s largest banks feel wind in their sails as profits rebound
Over the past decade, small and medium-sized banks had been making more profits through aggressive lending via shadow-banking channels. According to analysts, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China's top bank by market capitalization, has produced the biggest earnings "beat" so far for 2017. ICBC reported a nonperforming loan (NPL) ratio of 1.55 percent, versus 1.62 percent a year earlier. AgBank's NPL ratio fell to 1.81 percent from 2.37 percent, while CCB's ratio slipped from 1.52 percent to 1.49 percent. ICBC, AgBank and CCB reported a combined net profit of 724 billion yuan ($115.31 billion), up 4.1 percent on 2016, driven by a return to core lending businesses from fee-based incomes.