China's 16 listed banks saw their combined first-quarter net profit rise by 12.6 percent year-on-year to 309.1 billion yuan ($50.11 billion), well below the 20 percent growth rate in the same period of 2012, the Beijing News reported Saturday.
The five largest banks realized a net profit of 234.9 billion yuan, taking a 76 percent share of the 16 banks' total net profits. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was still the most profitable bank in China, with its net profit reaching 68.8 billion yuan in the first quarter.
Industrial Bank Co saw the fastest growth. It reported a surge in net profits of 32.44 percent to 10.977 billion yuan in the first quarter, while Ping An Bank's net profit rose by just 4.67 percent, the lowest growth rate.
Despite the slower growth, the performance was better than expected, with many analysts having predicted a rise in net profit of between 8 percent and 10 percent for the 16 banks.
Only four of the banks - Ping An Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, ICBC and China CITIC Bank - saw growth rates below 10 percent.
Hu Zhe, vice president of China Construction Bank, said in March that the main reason for the slowdown in banks' net profit was China's economic transition from a model of fast growth to one of steady growth, according to the Beijing News.
An increase in non-performing loans and a fall in interest margins also had an impact, the report said.
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