Premier Li Keqiang pressed the ‘enter’ button on a computer on Jan 4 to finalize the first loan by WeBank, a new online bank and one of five privately funded banks given approval to open in China.
During a visit to China’s first Internet-based bank, Premier Li said Internet-based banking is a significant step in China’s financial reform, stressing that the government will provide a favorable environment for the development of private and online banking. The loan approved by Premier Li during the bank’s soft launch was to a truck driver in Shenzhen, worth 35,000 yuan or $5,600.
According to their agreement, the loanee will repay the principal and interest, at an annual rate of 7.5 percent, in six months. These online private banks are based over the world wide web and have no physical branches, which can reduce operational costs to 10 percent of the industrial average and cut lending costs.