WeBank, China’s first internet-only bank, was fined 2 million yuan ($281,710) by the national banking regulator for multiple violations including irregular loan issuance and business undertaking, noncompliance in management appointment and employee misconduct.
The penalty was the first imposed on WeBank since its founding in 2014. Financial regulators have been conducting a crackdown on bank lending violations focusing on the misuse of consumer loans. Several other banks, including China Guangfa Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China, have also been fined for breaches in personal lending over the past two months.
The Shenzhen branch of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission in an inspection launched last year found that some WeBank employees used consumer loans from the bank to invest in stock and futures trading, violating industry rules, sources told Caixin.
WeBank didn’t respond to Caixin’s questions on the matter. Five-year-old WeBank is majority owned by internet giant Tencent Holdings. In 2018, the bank posted revenue of 10 billion yuan with net profit of 2.5 billion yuan. Its business focuses on small-amount credit products targeting consumer spending.