Banks have disbursed 8.23 trillion yuan of loans between January and October, so they will have to quicken the pace in the last two months if they are to meet the new target.
Read MoreChina's wild market swings: This is just the start
If upcoming data also proves worse than expected, some analysts say the PBOC could cut banks' reserve requirement ratio (RRR) as soon as this weekend, allowing them to further increase lending.
The PBOC did not answer calls requesting comment.
Bank lending is a crucial part of China's monetary policy as the government instructs commercial banks, most of which are directly or indirectly controlled by the state, how much to lend and when to lend each year.
The amount of new loans issued by Chinese banks fell by more than a third in October.
Read MoreChina bond yields spike after corporate debt market crackdown
"If credit supply is increased, it will certainly help economic growth in the first quarter," said Chang Chun Hua, an economist at Nomura in Hong Kong. "If this is true, it shows that the government is quite concerned about growth."
State news agency Xinhua cited a government statement on Thursday that referred to "relatively big downward pressure" on the economy, which is expected to grow at its slowest pace in nearly a quarter of a century this year.
Zhou Hao, an economist at ANZ in Shanghai who focuses on monetary policy, said the lending move showed that government was still hoping it could hit its 7.5 percent growth target for 2014.
Read MoreWal-Mart's China stores inflated profits: Report
So far, however, the central bank's stimulus efforts haven't shown up in economic performance, but instead appear to have put a speculative rocket under the country's previously underperforming stock markets.
Any cut in the RRR also carries the risk of giving more fuel to asset bubbles.
Banks' reluctance to lend has been attributed by some to a shortage of liquidity resulting from sliding deposits.
That could explain why PBOC has, according to the two sources, been quietly allowing banks to lend out more than 75 percent of their deposits, effectively relaxing a rule that is aimed at containing risks to the financial system when borrowers default on loans.
Read MoreEasy credit feeds risky margin trades in Chinese stocks
But increasing the supply of loans, including any cut in the RRR, will only boost economic output if there is demand for lending by borrowers who can put it to productive use.
Polk at the Conference Board says there is instead overcapacity in the manufacturing sector and a reluctance to borrow, which explains why interest rates remain low.
"A little reduction in average rates suggests it's the loan demand side driving some of the pullback in credit creation, which also calls into question the ability of the central bank to push through such an increase in lending at the end of the year," he said.