Bank of China, the country's largest foreign exchange bank, said yesterday it had disposed of 72.4 billion yuan (US$8.7 billion) in non-performing loans (NPLs) by the end of last year.
The bank did not provide the figure for the outstanding amount of NPLs by then.
Earlier reports said that, by the end of September, the bank's outstanding NPLs, by the international standard of five category classification, dropped 4.3 percentage points from the year-beginning to 18.07 per cent.
Bank spokesman Wang Zhaowen said improving asset quality and cutting NPLs have been listed as two important works of the bank's restructuring and shareholding reforms last year.
Heads of bank branches from both home and abroad have all signed agreements with the Bank of China headquarters to drop the outstanding amount of NPLs and the NPL ratios, Wang said.
In a further move on Tuesday, the State injected US$45 billion into Bank of China and China Construction Bank to increase their capital adequacy.
"The State injection is a strong signal that China's banking reform has entered a fast development period," said Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the central People's Bank of China.
The country will take more bolder steps to speed up the banking sector's internal reform and improve their corporate governance, he said.
Zhang Enzhao, president of the China Construction Bank, said Chinese commercial banks will have to speed up reforms to improve risk management, as globalization and liberalization of the financial industry develop further.
Compared with internationally-competitive rivals, China's commercial banks' risks management lack behind in aspects such as idea, technology, method and external environment, he said.
In other words, development of the commercial banks' internal control systems is still in the preliminary stage, said Zhang Yanling, vice-president of Bank of China.
At present, the board in commercial banks has not undertaken internal controls, she said.
An effective internal control system, which comprises formulation of control policies, implementation, assessment and monitoring, has also not yet come into being.
The priority of internal control has not been given in certain business areas, she said.
Vice Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said that risks control and internal control have played important roles in maintaining the stability of the financial system.
"If the Bank of China and China Construction Bank can explore good ways for the country's financial reform, it is worth paying a price," Lou said, referring to the recent State injection.