Vietnamese banks target more overseas markets

Vietnamese banks are stepping up plans to expand their markets globally instead of focusing only on the Indochinese region.
May 07, 2019 | 11:21

Vietnamese banks target more overseas markets

Vietcombank officially plans to open a branch in Australia this year (Photo: Vietcombank)

At a recent annual general shareholders meeting, Chairman of the Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) Nghiem Xuan Thanh said the bank planned to open a branch in Australia this year.

Vietcombank is also expected to open a representative office in the US in July 2019 after receiving approval from the US Federal Reserve. With the expected launch, Vietcombank will become the first commercial bank in Vietnam to set up a representative office in the US.

Vietcombank launched its first overseas bank in Laos in October last year, besides representative offices in Singapore and Hong Kong.

The Sai Gon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) has also submitted a plan to shareholders to set up a wholly-owned bank or contribute capital to a credit institution in the Ivory Coast to enter the African market.

SHB’s leader said the number of Vietnamese firms investing in the Ivory Coast had increased recently, mainly focusing on building processing factories to serve export and import activities. The demand for capital and international payment activities have also increased quickly, and SHB wanted to seize the opportunity.

SHB will also open wholly-owned banks in Laos and Cambodia. The two markets are the top investment destinations chosen by many other Vietnamese banks over the years thanks to significant overseas investment by Vietnamese firms in those markets, such as the Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Industry and Trade of Vietnam (VietinBank), Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Sai Gon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), and Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB).

Statistics from the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment showed that in the first four months of this year, the finance and banking sector ranked second in overseas investment by Vietnamese firms with total registered capital of 36 million USD, accounting for 24.1 percent of the country’s total overseas investment.

Experts forecast free trade agreements (FTAs), especially the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU-Vietnam FTA, would contribute to increasing Vietnam’s overseas investment significantly.

Financial and banking expert Can Van Luc said FTAs were opening significant opportunities for businesses investing abroad, facilitating banks to open branches in foreign countries to provide banking services.

Under the banking development strategy to 2025 with a vision to 2030 approved by the Prime Minister, Vietnam aims to have at least two-three banks in Asia’s top 100 banks by assets and three-five banks listed on foreign stock exchanges.


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