Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has become the first state-owned commercial bank to launch an overdraft facility for quality corporate clients. China's largest bank said the services were aimed at helping clients solve short-term cash-flow problems during the production and operating processes. The move is in line with the bank's drive to widen the range of its credit business to increase profits and enhance competitiveness in the face of growing invasion by foreign players after China's World Trade Organisation accession. Bank of China, the mainland's largest foreign-exchange bank, declined to say if it would follow ICBC. Spokesmen from China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China were not available for comment. Customers applying for the overdraft facility for one month are charged an interest at a 10 per cent premium to the official lending rate. The rate for two months has been set at a 20 per cent premium and for three months, 30 per cent. The repayment period is up to one year. The loan size will be determined by the creditworthiness of the clients. 'We will lend money only to our quality corporate clients who have good creditworthiness,' an ICBC spokesman said yesterday. To avoid clients illegally using the facility, the bank stipulates that the money not be transferred to the stock and futures markets or used for securities investment. Bank staff would regularly check the settlement network to monitor loan allocation, the spokesman said. ICBC provides network settlement services for large enterprises through internal fund transfers.