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China's banking rife with irregularities

The banking watchdog in China has made it known that there were irregularities totalling some 767.1 billion yuan (£54.3 billion) at mainland banks in 2005.

This is a 31 per cent increase from the previous year and was found in about 1,200 financial institutions, according to the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC).

These irregularities led to the CBRC collecting around 1.47 billion yuan in funds throughout the year from 1,272 criminal cases but it is not known exactly what activities these involved.

The news has led the CBRC to show that it is cracking down on unlawful practices across the sector at a time when it is encouraging Chinese banks to team up with international partners in a bid to help them reform, reports Reuters.

The regulator said: "The commission carried out many on-the-spot checks and helped promote the health of the banking sector by imposing strict punishments on rule-breakers."

So far Citigroup and Deutsche Bank have bought stakes in mainland banks in China to enter into the country's personal savings market, believed to be worth billions of pounds.