Recently, a topic attracted millions of views on the popular Q&A website in mainland China Zhihu: A netizen said, “Why does it always feel like the world is at its end lately? Do you feel the same way?” It was a post from a bank employee to which one poster replied: “Yes. I’m a banker, and I’ve been panicking lately.” The screenshot taken at 11 am China time on July 1 shows that more than 4.2 million people have viewed the post, and more than 10.400 people agree with that answer.

At 5:29 pm on June 26, the author of the article, who identified himself as a bank employee with a Zhihu account ‘Liu Yan‘ (now converted to an anonymous user), said: “This year, I was transferred to an important position, which is responsible for loan approval. I think my main task is to control risks, bring out my expertise with rich experience and knowledge of solutions, and achieve a dynamic balance between risk control and growth. Anyway, this is what my leader told me. He said that, in the current difficult situation, the whole bank has great expectations of me..”

Liu Yan said: Just over a month after taking office, he found that things were not the same as he thought before. Liu’s primary duties are to deal with various inspections, write reports, conduct various consultations and deal with complex cases. Reviewing loans is just a small thing.

The author explained that he has to write reports to explain to the regulatory agencies, such as how loan syndication was released? Why are there so many loans for other locals? What is the actual situation of businesses? Are the announced profit targets true or false? How much risk is there from your loans? Is it true that new loans cannot be issued?

He said every report he wrote made him bite his pen and sweat. If the actual situation were written down, executives would be questioned, and the bank would be in a predicament. He dares not describe it as it is challenging. 

The author adds, “Why is loan screening (i.e., assessing customer risk) a side issue? Because it really does not work. Credit Ratings are always trying to work through multiple loans as they use the methods the banker calls “the equivalent of drinking poison to quench thirst.” Finally, there are many loans where borrowers misappropriate funds, empty or ghost companies, disputed ownership, or insufficient collateral.

Talking about the culprit causing turmoil in banks, the author says, is the real estate market, and most bad things are related to it. The storm of the banking crisis is coming, and it is hard to imagine what will happen to banks and depositors after a large-scale rainstorm. Recently, an incident occurred in local banks (3 banks in Henan), triggering a major investigation in the industry. Fortunately, Liu’s bank was not involved.

The residential mortgages were really unexpected. People do not want to purchase and sell, and the real estate market is very gloomy. The government is panicking, doing things to stimulate real estate purchases, such as reducing payment and interest rates. Large-scale credit was issued, but the number of real estate transactions declined sharply over the years, and many real estate projects sprang up everywhere. Some buildings could not sell even a few apartments in the whole year.

The auction information of real estate agents can be seen on Tiktok anytime.

The author says he always convinces his friends to sell real estate online. However, for a whole year, no one looked at the property. He advised his friend to lower the price, just lower than the purchase price to sell. His friend said that the property was purchased with borrowed money, and therefore, that would be a significant loss.

Many people think like that. He said that setting the price below the purchase price does not necessarily improve sales.

The author added that recently, he went out to investigate a loan. The collateral was a store located in a commercial complex. When he entered, he only saw a cheap supermarket on the first floor. Everyone queued in the fresh food area to buy goods. In addition, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors did not have any business shops. The storefronts had no signage, some doors were unlocked, and the ground was dusty. He said: “Under the bright sunlight at 3 pm, it looked like a ghost building. I was almost motionless, shaking.”

Finally, the author said the streets are still crowded with traffic, and everything seems normal, but many things are silently changing. He said he plans to turn off his cell phone and go out less, hoping everything will be okay.

This article was posted and attracted the attention of netizens, and the number of readings skyrocketed within a few hours. By 9 am on July 1, the topic had attracted more than 2.36 million readers and 4,128 people who agreed;

By 11 o’clock, the number of readers had reached more than 4.23 million, and 10,406 people had agreed.

Some network users with accounts on the Zhihu site commented as follows:

User named Ma Zao said: “That’s right, and I know very well that this feeling is not only due to thinking that some disaster is coming, but also because the foundation of everyday life is very fragile.”

Users with an account Peace of mind and freedom say, “Yes, not only there, this feeling has not yet subsided, but re-awakened. Unusual weather. Unusual disease. Unusual world.”

User Xingxing said: “I really feel it…I came here looking for it. It’s hard for me to describe the feeling, but it is in the hot, humid air, in the cloudy time like a dream, in the absence of friendliness from the people around or the world before, I gradually felt that this world was different from what I had known before.”

Pieve Ligure commented: “Yes. What people in the country have often seen lately is the epidemic and the lockdown and control that has led to the collapse of all industries, the outrage of every university student, the college and graduate entrance exams are both controlled to a new level, the recruitment season is fraught with difficulties. Traditional businesses are declining, online businesses are starting to fail, and Internet companies are laying off employees.”

Lonely Nightcrawler said: “I don’t care if the world is coming to an end, but right now I can feel a very divided social sense.”

User Ziyang commented: “The apocalypse, some demons who used to wear human skin are now too lazy to disguise themselves (so they have shown their true forms).”

User Einaragawa said: “The situation in the world and in the country makes me feel that way. Internationally, the world is in turmoil. The outbreak of 2020 has not yet disappeared, in the context of the pandemic, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the economic recession. In the country/ Domestically, look at the employment situation! In the context of the epidemic, many families have really lost their income, even lost their jobs. I don’t know how many people remember the toxic textbook incident that caused a stir in the past, but it’s really been hidden now. This is truly a disappointment. And the scuffle in Tangshan. Really these things are making me see how scary the formal, bureaucratic doctrines can be. But no matter what, we still have to live well! Be kind to your family and friends, live well every day and don’t let yourself regret it. Even if the apocalypse comes, we must strive to make every day worthwhile!”

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