Foreign banks assure continued presence in Vietnam

Some foreign banks have assured that they will retain their presence in Vietnam after withdrawing capital from some Vietnamese partners recently, noting that the country is still an attractive market.
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Local media recently reported on the capital withdrawal of BNP Paribas of France, HSBC of Hong Kong (China) and Commonwealth of Australia from their Vietnamese partners.

foreign banks assure continued presence in vietnam
Some foreign banks have assured that they will retain their presence in Vietnam after withdrawing capital from some Vietnamese partners recently. (Photo:

Last January, Standard Chartered of the US sold all of its 8.75-percent stake in the joint venture with the Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) of Vietnam. Meanwhile, Australian-owned ANZ Vietnam also sold all of its retail banking segment in the Vietnamese market to Shinhan Vietnam in December 2017.

The withdrawal of the foreign investors has caused concern of a mass capital outflow from Vietnam.

However, a representative of ANZ Vietnam confirmed they will not exit the country, adding that the transfer of the retail segment to Shinhan is part of ANZ’s strategy to increase its capital efficiency and focus resources on business and financial institution clients, which are the biggest business segments of ANZ in Asia.

The representative said with its long-standing successful operations in Vietnam, the bank pledges to continue its presence in this market to support businesses and financial institutions.

Commenting on some foreign banks’ capital withdrawal, economy-finance expert Bui Quang Tin said investors usually have their own plans or strategies after joining a partnership.

“Additionally, business is not always smooth, so withdrawing or investing capital is just a business strategy of foreign investors,” he added.

According to finance-banking expert Nguyen Tri Hieu, many Asian investors have entered Vietnam over the past years. However, those from Europe are rather reluctant and in fact, some big European banks have pulled capital out of Vietnam.

He attributed the situation mainly to Asian investors’ understanding of the market and business culture in Vietnam. They have also possibly had traditional clients here, and investing in the country is a way to support the clients from their homelands.

Some foreign banks also highly value the Vietnamese market, especially its retail banking segment.

Sabbir Ahmed, head of the Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC Vietnam, said retail is still an important business segment of HSBC in Vietnam.

The ANZ representative also expressed optimism about business opportunities in the Southeast Asian nation, citing a stable government, a favourable population, increasing trade integration and foreign direct investment and the strong growth of the middle class.

Bui Quang Tin said foreign investors are likely to invest more in local banks like Vietcombank, VietinBank and BIDV when these banks expand foreign ownership. Agribank’s coming equitisation has also attracted great interest from foreign investors.

Private commercial banks are predicted to earn good profits this year and the following years. While the bad debt rate is expected to decline, bank stock value has risen significantly recently. Those factors will entice investors in the time to come, he added.

Echoing this view, Nguyen Tri Hieu said thanks to the recent signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, Vietnamese banks will be attractive destinations in the future.

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(Source: VNA)