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Hellos and farewells to foreign bank partners   2010-03-30 - VietNamNet/DTCK

While building plans to increase chartered capital, most commercial banks will issue shares to foreign strategic shareholders. Those with foreign shareholders already, however, want to say ‘goodbye’ to them.

 

 
Dong A Bank plans to increase its chartered capital from 3400 billion dong to 6000 billion dong a move approved by its shareholders. The bank will offer 150 million shares with the face value of 1500 billion dong to domestic and foreign strategic shareholders. Dong A explained that it is seeking potential strategic partners.

 

Speaking at the shareholders’ meeting on March 26, one bank shareholder maintained that, if five years ago, the bank had successfully chosen a foreign strategic shareholder, operations would have been much better.

 

“Five years ago, Dong A Bank was among the best joint-stock banks, together with ACB, Eximbank and Sacombank,” the shareholder pointed out. “Now it is inferior to other banks in terms of capital and profit, because the other banks all have foreign strategic shareholders.”  The shareholder added that the bank should not be too selective in seeking foreign strategic partners.

 

OCB Bank will increase its chartered capital from 2000 billion dong to 3000 billion. OCB General Director Tran Van Vinh proposed that the bank will issue more shares to existing foreign shareholder, French BNP. If so, the proportion of shares BNP holds will increase to 20 percent, if approved by the Government and State Bank of Vietnam.

 

If the plan goes smoothly, key projects will be carried out to turn OCB into a leasing retail bank in Vietnam.

 

“Both sides have satisfied with what we have done and we want to continue our alliance,” Vinh commented.

 

HD Bank and Viet A Bank also both plan to attract capital from foreign strategic shareholders to raise their chartered capital from 1500 billion to 3000 billion dong in 2010. Finding foreign strategic partners is not east at this moment, in the post-crisis period, because financial groups worldwide must cope with problems.

 

Sacombank has officially announced that ANZ will not be its strategic shareholder any longer. ANZ now holds 10 percent in Sacombank and will terminate its partnership. Dau Tu Chung Khoan quoted Sacombank Chair as saying that the bank believes it is the right time to part with ANZ.

 

One reason that banks like Sacombank are worried enough to end their partnerships is that some foreign partners have set up 100 percent foreign-owned banks in Vietnam and have been trying to expand their business. ANZ is a typical example. It set up a 100 percent foreign-owned bank in 2009 and it has been trying to expand into retail banking, which is also a goal of Sacombank.

 

More importantly, the two sides cannot find common ground, and feel it would be better for them to part.

 

To date, five 100 percent foreign-banks have been licensed in Vietnam.

 

Meanwhile, a general director of a joint-stock bank discussed how his bank will not seek foreign strategic partners at any cost. Previously, banks needed to attract strategic partners to improve their technologies, but now understand that, if they have money, they can have good technologies and attract foreigners to work for them.



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