A slowdown in China’s rising property market could quickly overwhelm the lenders.

China’s banks are masking loans as investments through an accounting trick to the tune of $2 trillion, or about 20% of their existing loan portfolio, according to a Wall Street Journal tally.

With China’s latest economic growth recently being driven by unprecedented levels of debt, that debt is gaining increased attention. Two years ago the focus turned to shadow banking, the non-bank financing that included runaway wealth management products and trust loans. Now it is shadow banking of another kind.

Off-balance sheet vehicles and a hodge-podge of bank and non-bank lending are behind the current rise. It is this “plumbing” that makes China risky for a crisis if liquidity dries up following a property slowdown or other triggering event, according to Emerging Advisors Group.

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