China Citic Bank, the lending unit of the mainland's biggest investment firm, says it will cut property loan growth by at least a third this year from 2010, signalling its determination to prune risk and reduce its exposure to the sector. Shi Yuan, a risk management executive at the bank, said the bank would tightly control lending to the property sector, a move in line with the government's effort to cool the property sector. The bank's move was largely expected as its lending to commercial real estate last year ballooned by 65 per cent, the highest of its peers. The industry average was about 20 per cent growth, said Michael Werner, a senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong. 'It's unlikely that other banks will make outright cuts or reductions in property loans,' he said. But banks were gradually reducing their exposure to the property sector. Other Chinese tier-one banks, such as Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Agriculture Bank of China, said they had made no adjustments to their property lending policies and would strictly follow regulators' requirements to control property lending. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the mainland's largest bank by assets, said corporate real estate loan growth fell 10.3 percentage points for the first quarter compared to same period last year. The bank would continue to control property lending, Wang Zhenning, a spokesman in Beijing, said. Stanley Li Nan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities in Hong Kong, said 'mainland banks are already starting to decrease their exposure to the property sector' and one third was a sensible figure. Nan said new lending to real estate developers rose by 207 billion yuan during the first quarter this year, 35 per cent down on the year-earlier period. Citic also said its outstanding loans to local government financing vehicles were down 11.66 per cent on quarter to 104.6 billion yuan at the end of March. Its capital adequacy ratio, which measures a bank's capital against risk-bearing assets, dropped 26 basis points on the quarter to 11.05 per cent. Its core capital adequacy ratio, a measure of highly liquid assets and cash, fell 24 basis points from December to 8.2 per cent.