Commercial banks have been ordered to set their annual goal of serving private enterprises by the end of March, according to a guidance aiming to boost lending to private firms released by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, reported.

Large-scale state-owned banks are required to play a leading role and must increase lending to small and micro-sized enterprises by 30% year-on-year.

The guidance also urges the establishment of a long-term mechanism to boost lending. For example, commercial banks should set annual service targets for private companies at the beginning of each year, include the performance of serving private firms into the internal review system, and increase positive incentives to encourage lending.

The assessment of serving private companies should focus on the number of enterprises they served, credit quality, and it is also allowed to be more tolerant of non-performing loans, the guidance added.