December 28, 2011

Vietnamese banks eye overseas investment


Many Vietnamese banks have planned to expand their operations to other countries, State Bank of Vietnam Deputy Governor Dang Thanh Binh said at the inauguration of the Military Bank’s Cambodian branch in Phnom Penh.

“Following the outbound investment of the military-run Viettel -- our strategy shareholder, we are targeting the African or East European markets,” Military Bank CEO Le Cong was quoted by newswire Saigon Times Online as saying.

Sources from the central bank said other banks such as the Maritime Bank have also planned to set up a 100-percent foreign-invested branches and banks in Cambodia.

Maritime Bank is also eyeing the opening of joint-ventures operating in the securities, insurances, remittances, and financial leasing sectors in Laos and Cambodia.

Saigon Hanoi Commercial Bank (SHB) is also completing the final procedures to inaugurate its branch in Cambodia, sources said.

Tran Bac Ha, chairman of the board of executives of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, also confirmed that the bank has already invested in its plan to expand operations to countries including Laos, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, and Myanmar.

For his part, Pham Huy Hung, chairman of VietinBank, said that in April, 2010 the bank set up a representative office in the German city of Frankfurt, and opened its first branch there on September 6th.

In the longer term, Vietinbank will upgrade the branch into a bank, and open another branch in Berlin, Hung said, adding that the bank also eyes expanding into other European countries including the Czech Republic, Poland, the UK, and France.

At present, Cambodia is home to four Vietnamese banks.

Deputy Governor Binh said the Vietnamese government always encourages local banks to exploit this market, as its Cambodian counterpart also offers numerous incentives to attract foreign investors, especially those coming from Vietnam.

Similarly, with many Vietnamese businesses expanding operations in Laos, the local finance sector will have more chances to grow in that market.

An official from the central bank said it is a good sign that local banks are expanding their operations overseas, as is the outbound investment influx of local businesses.

“Global banks made these same moves years ago in order to spread their names all over the world,” he said.


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