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Healthy balance sheet a priority

SHANGHAI Pudong Development Bank will increase provisions against non-performing loans and cut bad loans this year to ride out the economic slowdown and seek sustainable growth, it said yesterday.

The bank said a healthy balance sheet with balanced growth on assets and debts and a curb on bad assets were its priorities for 2009. At a meeting summarizing its 2008 performance and setting a plan for 2009 it said deteriorating assets and a slowdown in profits were the biggest challenges but that there were also opportunities to buck the trend.

"The global financial crisis brings both challenges and opportunities," the bank said. "The banking industry faces a tough year ahead amid the economic downturn. On the other hand, the central government's easing monetary policy and proactive fiscal policy also gives the industry opportunities."

The bank's 2008 net profits jumped 127 percent to 12.5 billion yuan (US$1.83 billion) despite a tough external environment, the bank said. Revenue increased 33 percent to 34.4 billion yuan, it said in an earlier preliminary statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

The bank is to post its 2008 annual report on February 28.


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