Analysts say China will speed up the reform of its rural financial system in the coming few months. The China Daily said the efforts would focus on reforming the hundreds of thousands of rural credit co-operatives and turning them into bigger organisations. 'The China Banking Regulatory Commission has given top priority to rebuilding the rural financial system, which has become weaker in recent years despite efforts to reform it,' the report said. It said the problems had already hampered other reforms in the countryside. 'Inadequate credit support for county-level economies has been widespread in recent years, which has impeded the structural readjustment of the rural economy,' the report said. According to the newspaper, China's four state-owned commercial banks - Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China - have withdrawn from the countryside to focus on high-yield business in cities. Their withdrawal from rural business has left the burden of providing efficient banking services to rural residents to the co-operatives, most of which are poorly run. The newspaper said non-performing loans of these co-operatives stood at 515 billion yuan (HK$484 billion) at the end of last year, or 37 per cent of their total outstanding loans. It said China's large number of postal savings outlets also were responsible for the poor health of the financial system throughout the countryside. The report accused these outlets of siphoning away large chunk of rural savings to earn high interest from the central bank. Meanwhile, they apparently contributed little to the rural population. The central government intended to overhaul the rural financial system. The new government, which assumed power in March, has said that reforming the rural economy and improving living standards are among its top priorities.