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ICBC Enhances the Quality of Business Development While Maintaining Stability in 2022
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On March 30, 2023, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (stock code SH: 601398; HK: 1398) announced its annual results for 2022. In 2022, ICBC adhered to the general keynote of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, took the initiative to overcome difficulties, made progress with customers, promoted its high-quality development, and delivered a brilliant result of enhancing quality while maintaining stability.

According to the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), in 2022, ICBC’s operating indicators performed well while maintaining stability, reflecting ICBC’s balance of value creation, market position, risk control and capital constraint, and demonstrating its characteristics of steady operation and strong development resilience, as well as deep potential for future growth. Specifically, the capital adequacy ratio reached over 19%, maintaining a leading position in the market; the provision coverage ratio remained stable at over 200%, with a balance of nearly RMB800 billion, enhancing the ability to resist risks; the NPL ratio dropped to 1.38%, and the asset quality remained robust. The return on average total assets (ROA) and return on weighted average equity (ROE) were maintained at an excellent level in the market, and the net interest margin (NIM) was 1.92%, which was maintained in a reasonable range while the market interest rate going downwards. Total assets increased to nearly RMB40 trillion; operating income exceeded RMB840 billion; net profit exceeded RMB360 billion, increasing by 3.1%.

During the reporting period, ICBC has topped The Banker Global 1000 list and the list of commercial banks of the Global 500 in Fortune for ten consecutive years, and led the world’s most valuable banking brands for seven consecutive years. ICBC continued to rank No.1 in steady development capability under the Gyroscope evaluation system, and received the highest ESG rating of A. Based on the recommendation of the Board of Directors, the estimated dividend for ICBC’s ordinary shares for 2022 totaled RMB108.2 billion, representing a pre-tax dividend of RMB3.035 per ten shares.

Improving the Quality and Effectiveness of Serving the Real Economy

In 2022, ICBC thoroughly implemented a series of policies and follow-up measures to stabilize the economy, promptly issued specific arrangements to help stabilize growth, and made forward-looking, precise and adequate efforts to highlight its main responsibility and principal business, and led and supported the development of the real economy with financial services.

The supply of funds to the real economy was continuously increased. Through loans, bonds, leasing, investments and other instruments, ICBC provided over RMB6.4 trillion to support the real economy, of which domestic RMB loans increased by over RMB2.6 trillion, achieving year-on-year growth and steady quarter-on-quarter growth and a leading position in the market; the net increase in bond investments exceeded RMB1.2 trillion, remaining in the first place. At the same time, in line with the downward trend of market interest rates, ICBC reduced the financing costs of the real economy, and provided reasonable fee reduction and profit surrendering to the real economy.

The credit funds were extended precisely and directly. In 2022, ICBC maintained its leading position in the scale of loans in manufacturing, green, science and technology innovation, inclusive and agriculture-related fields, and the growth rate of loans was higher than that of the Bank, which strongly supported the economic transformation and upgrading and promoted high-quality economic and social development. In particular, the balance of loans to the manufacturing industry exceeded RMB3 trillion, with a growth rate of more than 40%, and the balances of medium to long-term loans and of unsecured loans to the manufacturing industry were both the first to break RMB1 trillion among domestic peers, effectively supporting the construction of infrastructure. The balance of green loans amounted to nearly RMB4 trillion, maintaining a leading position in the market. The growth rate of inclusive loans exceeded 40%.

Services for regional harmonious development were coordinated and effective. ICBC coordinated its services to key regions and development areas, and continued to enhance the balanced allocation of financial resources between urban and rural areas, regions and groups. While increasing resources to support key regions, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Central China and the Chengdu-Chongqing Region, ICBC optimized the investment of resources in regions with slow credit growth, and enhanced the balanced, coordinated and sustainable allocation of financial resources. ICBC deeply implemented the Urban-Rural Collaborative Development Strategy. The balance of agriculture-related loans exceeded RMB3 trillion, the “Digital Villages” comprehensive service platform covered both urban and rural areas, and the number of online agriculture-related users of ICBC Xingnongtong exceeded 140 million.

Deepening Transformation and Maintaining Stable Momentum of Operations

In 2022, ICBC further leveraged the linkage of government, businesses and consumers (GBC) to boost the continued prudence and sustainable optimization of operational quality and momentum. The numbers of corporate customers accounts, of merchant customers accounts and of cash management accounts all exceeded 10 million, and the number of peronal customers surpassed 720 millon, and the customer ecology of the harmonious development of “large, medium, small, micro and personal customers” was further improved. At the same time, as the synergy of the customer ecology accelerated, the annual increase of customer deposits exceeded RMB3.4 trillion, continuing to maintain a leading position.

ICBC continued to build it into a bank that satisfies the people. ICBC deeply promoted the No.1 Personal Bank Strategy by innovating products for people’s needs for a better life. The building of a bank that satisfies the people saw new results. For market players such as small and micro enterprise owners, individual businesses and truck drivers, the Bank has launched tailored loan products to help them tide over their difficulties. Based on the needs of customer segments such as Generation Z, salaried persons, the elderly and parents and children, the Bank has created diversified service brands. The competitiveness of outlets has been continuously improved, and the system of ICBC Sharing Station and government affairs outlets has been basically completed. ICBC was the first in the industry to launch a comprehensive financial service system for new city dwellers and the first in China to offer personal pension savings, and launched innovative services such as the Greater Bay Area Account Connect and the Cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect.

The digital transformation was accelerated on all fronts. ICBC deepened the construction of “Digital ICBC (D-ICBC)” and continued to upgrade the Ecosystem of Intelligent Banking (ECOS), and its comprehensive strength in technology continued to lead the industry. ICBC has ranked No. 1 in the banking sector in the IT regulatory rating for nine consecutive years. The Bank vigorously enhanced its online financial services capabilities by launching Mobile Banking 8.0 and ICBC e-Life 5.0 and building an open wealth community, with 516 million personal mobile banking customers and more than 174 million monthly active users, both of which remained No. 1 in the industry. The e-CNY pilot was at the forefront of the market. The Bank enchanced the capability of data management on all fronts, being the first in the domestic financial sector to earn the highest level of Data management Capability Maturity Model (DCMM). In 2022, ICBC ranked No. 1 in the domestic banking sector in terms of both new and cumulative patents granted.

ICBC’s global service capabilities were continuously enhanced. ICBC strived to build a global operation system to promote the quality enhancement and efficiency improvement of its internationalized operations. The Bank deeply implemented the “Chunrong Action”, supporting foreign trade enterprises to explore business opportunities abroad with internal and external collaboration. The financing for key foreign trade enterprises increased by more than 25% year on year. The Bank served international exhibition platforms such as the China International Import Expo (CIIE), China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) and China International Consumer Products Expo on all fronts, earnestly performed its duties as the chairman of the Chinese chapter of the BRICS Business Council, promoted the China-Europe Business Council (CEBC) to strengthen economic and trade cooperation, and advanced the expansion of the Belt and Road Bankers Roundtable (BRBR) to 71 countries and regions. The Bank launched “ICBC Global Pay”, a market-leading, independent and controllable platform for global payment, serving more than 10,000 enterprises worldwide. Currently, ICBC serves as the RMB clearing bank in 11 overseas countries, and is the first Chinese bank that provides the 24/7 RMB clearing service.

Consolidating the Bottom Line of Risks to Strengthen the Foundations of High Quality Development

ICBC promoted “active prevention, smart control and comprehensive management” of risks and improved the enterprise-wide risk management system, and made every effort to keep the risk response ahead of the market.

The asset quality remained stable. ICBC has solidly promoted the construction of a credit risk management system, enhanced the risk management responsibilities of the first line of defense and fully implemented the risk officer system. The NPL ratio saw a decline while maintaining stability. The overdue loan ratio was 1.22%, down 0.01 percentage points from the beginning of the year, and the price scissors between overdue loans and NPLs have remained negative for 11 consecutive quarters. At the same time, various disposal methods were used to intensify the disposal of NPAs, and over RMB170 billion of NPLs were disposed of throughout the year, making the overall assets clearer and cleaner.

The enterprise-wide risk management capability was continuously enhanced. In response to new changes in the risk profile, ICBC has implemented the Five-pronged Risk Management Approach, namely the overall risk management of domestic and overseas institutions, on- and off-balance sheet business, commercial and investment banking and other business, online and offline business, as well as the Head Office and subsidiaries. The Bank also improved the joint prevention and control mechanism for market risks from currencies, foreign exchanges, bonds, stocks and commodities, and responded effectively to fluctuations in the international financial markets. All these showed that various risks were generally controllable. By taking advantage of risk management, the Bank took the initiative to export risk control techniques and tools to more than 300 peers to help maintain overall financial stability.

Fulfilling Social Responsibilities and Deepening the Long-Term Public Welfare Mechanism

ICBC actively fulfilled its social responsibilities and took public welfare as an important mission. Throughout the year, 13,000 voluntary public welfare activities such as targeted support, event services, child care and popularization of financial knowledge were carried out, and nearly RMB130 million was invested in charity.

Under the Group’s public welfare brand of “ICBC Sight Initiative”, ICBC launched the “Love Project” in 2022 to form a mechanism for sharing public welfare resources and building projects by integrating public welfare forces and standardizing project operations. Specifically, “Health Express” program provided free treatment for cataract patients in poor areas, and has donated a total of nearly RMB33 million and provided free sight restoration surgery for nearly 13,000 cataract patients. The “Tongxin Harbor” program focused on the construction of care stations for leftover children, serving more than 10,000 leftover children in rural areas. ICBC deeply made efforts in the building of the “ICBC Sharing Stations+” service system for public welfare, and carried out 120,000 theme activities of the “Care” series based on 15,500 ICBC Sharing Stations, serving customers for 21 million times.