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Bank refuses to sell dollars to client   2010-03-15 - VietNamNet/VNE

With plans to go abroad on a business trip and visit relatives, Nhan arrived at Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) to purchase $7000, but was refused.


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Of course, Nhan knows that he only needs to go to the black market and accept a slightly higher price than that quoted by commercial banks to purchase as much dollars as he wants. Yet Nhan does not want to, because he reads in the newspapers that this is illegal.


On the morning of March 13, Ngan came to ACB Le Trong Tan Branch in HCM City to purchase dollars.


The bank branch said that it did not have dollar to sell. The staff explained that the bank branch must buy dollars from its headquarters at high prices and so if they sell dollars at the quoted price, they incur losses.


Nhan later went to ACB Maximark Cong Hoa Branch and received the same answer. The branch proved to be a little more flexible, offering to sell euros since he planned to visit a relative in Europe.


Nhan was advised to go directly to ACB’s headquarter to purchase dollars.


He decided to try the ACB Mac Dinh Chi branch. He was shocked when told that the bank does not sell dollars to individual clients.


Nhan does not accept the explanation. Under current laws, any individuals who have legitimate need for foreign currency during trips abroad (pay for healthcare, airfare, tuition, etc.) have the right to purchase dollars from banks.


Nhan asked to meet directly with the head manager. The branch deputy head said that the staff’s explanation was not true and they did not represent the bank.


The officer told Nhan to write down his request and asked him to return on March 16. By that time, the bank will give a definite answer on whether to sell dollars to him, and if not, the bank branch will provide an official explanation.


Meanwhile, Nguyen Thanh Toai, Deputy General Director of ACB, claims that the bank has no policy to prevent the sale of dollars to individual clients. Yet now the bank does not have dollars to sell.


“ACB will only sell dollars to individual clients if we have dollars to sell,” Toai explained. He also denied that bank branches have to purchase dollars at high prices from their headquarters.


Nguyen Hoang Minh, Director of the HCM City Branch of the State Bank of Vietnam, maintains the dollar supply has been improved, but banks must prioritize their use. Minh suggests that it would be better to use international credit cards for payment if people cannot purchase dollars in Vietnam.

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