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Chinese regulator to further open banking sector to foreign lenders

The China Banking Regulatory Commission published draft revisions to rules aimed at making it easier for foreign banks to operate in China.

The banking regulator said it will work to ensure that its supervision of foreign banks is consistent with that on domestic Chinese lenders, according to Dec. 28 releases.

Foreign banks will only need to apply to set up a branch network, without having to apply to establish branches. The CBRC will also simplify the process for approving senior management changes.

Further, the CBRC removed the approval process for foreign banks to set up offshore asset management and asset custody businesses, among other segments. Banks will only need to report to the CBRC after conducting such services.

These draft revisions are based on current regulations on foreign banks in China, which were published in March. The revised rules add details regarding requirements, procedures and application documents for foreign banks to make equity investments in Chinese banks. Previously, the CBRC only agreed in principle that foreign banks could invest in Chinese banking institutions.

In early November, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said the Chinese government will lift foreign ownership caps for financial companies.

The draft rule revisions are open for feedback until Jan. 27, 2018.