Bankers have started committing suicide as China begins to hunt down corruption in the financial system, with at least 96 cadres being investigated for corrupt practices.
Numerous bank officials have either committed suicide or passed away unexpectedly, according to state media, as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to purify its banking system.
Wang Shengyong, the president of the Yangtze River Village Bank in Yingshan County, Hubei Province, passed away on December 5 at the age of 54 from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the county’s authorities. Wang allegedly killed himself after defrauding depositors of 40 million yuan (about $5.6 million) while posing as a capital raiser.
Official media sources state that 49-year-old Du Haitao, deputy general manager of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Credit Suisse Asset, passed away on December 13 from a heart attack while out for a run. Du, who was born in 1974, served as chairman of ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management (International) Co., LTD and deputy general manager of ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management Co., LTD.
The president of Huaxia Bank’s Tianjin branch, Gong Danzhi, passed away on December 10. The news was confirmed by the local police department.
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In November 2020, Gong Danzhi was named president of Huaxia Bank’s Tianjin branch, according to business information. He has previously served as both the president and vice president of the bank’s Beijing urban sub-center branch.
Huaxia Bank, China’s fifth nationally listed bank, was founded in October 1992, went public on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in September 2003, and employs over 40,000 people. It has 44 first-tier branches throughout the nation. The first significant shareholder in Huaxia Bank is the massive state-owned company Shougang Group, which holds 21.68 percent of the shares.
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Huaxia Bank was placed 67th in terms of asset size and 56th in terms of Tier 1 capital in The Banker’s Top 1000 World Banks 2019. Huaxia Bank came in at 265th place on the 2019 Forbes Global 2000 List.
However, Huaxia Bank experienced several mishaps in 2023 and was hit with fines totaling tens of millions of yuan.
The Taizhou branch of Huaxia Bank was fined 300,000 yuan (about $42,000) by the Taizhou Supervision Branch of the National Administration of Financial Regulation on December 20.
The Xiamen branch of Huaxia Bank was fined 2.8 million yuan (about $391,700) on September 26.
The Nanchang branch of Huaxia Bank was fined 1.985 million yuan (about $277,700) on August 14.
As of July 3, some Huaxia Bank branches and sub-branches that had broken the rules may have faced fines of up to 2 million yuan, or roughly $279,800.
Huaxia Bank was hit with five fines totaling 1.45 million yuan (about $202,900) on June 30 for various credit infractions.
The Yingkou branch of Huaxia Bank was fined 700,000 yuan (about $97,900) on June 2.
The Shaoxing branch of Huaxia Bank was fined 950,000 yuan (about $132,900) on April 19.
Bank Presidents Die Due to Pressure
At least 96 financial leaders have fallen from favor in 2023, and 38 employees of the five main state-owned banks are under investigation.
“The suicide of bank presidents shows that the central [authority] doesn’t take responsibility anymore. Wang Donglan (a pseudonym), a former vice president of a bank in Shandong Province, stated on December 20 that “whoever lends out the money is responsible.”
“In the past, enterprises were encouraged to operate in debt. Some enterprises did not meet the conditions for loans, but through interpersonal connections, they got the loans anyway.
“No one asked about it for so many years. Now for the year-end check, someone must be held accountable, can the bank presidents not be anxious? Which sum of money was loaned out without the president’s sign? Choosing to commit suicide may be able to save their families or assets.”
The Bank of Beijing announced on May 4 that Lin Hua, an independent director of the business, passed away from illness at the age of 47.
Mr. Lin was a 1975 born with a stellar CV. He completed his Ph.D. in applied financial sciences at the University of Geneva and his MBA at the University of California, Irvine. He is a chartered financial analyst and financial risk manager. In July 2022, he became an independent director of the Bank of Beijing when he joined the board of directors.
Lin was the chairman of Beijing Huacheng Functional Technology Co., Ltd., as disclosed to the public. In addition, he held the positions of executive deputy director of the Insurance Asset Management Association of China’s Asset Securitization Professional Committee, member of the Ministry of Finance’s Enterprise Accounting Standards Advisory Committee, independent non-executive director of China Merchants Land Asset Management, and member of the Standing Committee of the Fifteenth Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Dongcheng District, Beijing.
Authorities from the CCP stated that as of December 7, at least 96 financial system cadres had been looked at. Of them, eight were under the purview of central administration; seventy-one were in the finance departments, state-owned companies, and central organs; and seventeen were under the purview of provincial administration. In 2022, 77 individuals in the financial system were the subject of an inquiry. The actual figure may be greater because the CCP’s statistics have long been contested.
“A lot of middle and senior executives in many departments now died of sudden death or heart disease.” Wang Donglan said. “There are all sorts of discussions online, from death by disease to side effects of vaccines.”