Citi China has opened its third lending company, near the northeastern port of Dalian in a town designated by the government as a pilot location for rural banking reform.
Citi <C.N> said on Wednesday that it expected the company, Dalian Wafangdian Citi Lending Co Ltd, to see significant credit demand from individuals and micro-businesses underserved by China's big banks. The company has registered capital of 17 million yuan ($2.49 million).
More than 100 rural financial institutions have been established across China since 2006 as part of a drive by the government to increase access to financial services and thus help reduce a yawning income gap between cities and the countryside.
The Asian Development Bank last week approved a technical assistance grant of $500,000 so that the People's Bank of China can improve the statistics it gathers about rural financial needs.