China Everbright Bank Co. Ltd. (SHA:601818), the country’s 11th-largest bank by assets, finally admitted that it had defaulted somewhat on 6.5 billion yuan ($1.07 billion) worth of a loan it was due to repay to another bank back in June.
Shortly after the June 5 liquidity squeeze that sent interbank lending rates soaring to as high as 30 percent, media reports started to circle that Everbright failed to repay a loan borrowed from Industrial Bank Co. Ltd. (SHA:601166) on time because of tight liquidity conditions.
At the time, Everbright told Bloomberg in an emailed statement that its relationship with Industrial Bank was good and that “all liquidity indicators for Everbright Bank are good.”
Some details of the event surfaced after Everbright launched what has become the biggest initial public offering in Hong Kong this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.
According to the bank’s prospectus issued ahead of the IPO, two of its branches “failed to receive from certain counterparties the expected proceeds from … inter-bank deposit commitments.” It didn’t name the counterparties, but suggested they might have been smaller financial institutions.
As a result of other banks’ inability to repay on time, Everbright was left cash-strapped and wasn’t able to honor its commitments to other lenders. “In order to ensure sufficient liquidity reserves, some of our branches generally obtain inter-bank deposit commitments from various local-level financial institutions on the inter-bank lending market," it said.
To be clear, Everbright didn’t refer to its late payment as a default. The wording used to describe the event was that it failed to “fulfil its obligations,” and cleared everything up within 24 hours.
Everbright also didn’t name the bank that didn’t receive the 6.5 billion yuan payment on time, but said the bank agreed that the full amount could be settled the following day.