|Interest rates haven't shown significant changes since Vietcombank's rate cuts, but they have revealed the sharper rate difference among the banks.—Illustrative image
HA NOI (VNS)— Interest rates haven't shown significant changes since Vietcombank's rate cuts, but they have revealed the sharper rate difference among the banks.
Vietcombank on Monday slashed its deposit rates by up to 1 percentage point, a move its general director Nguyen Phuoc Thanh said was to re-organise capital sources, stimulate consumption and help lower lending rates to support enterprises.
The rates fell to 6 per cent for monthly deposits, 7 per cent for six-month to nine-month terms, and 8 per cent for a 12-month term.
BIDV yesterday also revised deposit rates down to 6-7 per cent for terms of less than 12 months, and 8 per cent for 12 months or more; while Vietinbank announced that it would cut short-term deposit rates by 0.5 percentage points to 7 per cent from today.
Most other banks currently apply a rate of 7.5 per cent for deposits for less than 12 months, and 10 per cent for 12 months or more.
Lending rates have also fallen sharply at Vietcombank, now staying at around 10.5-11.6 per cent. According to Dau tu (Viet Nam Investment Review), the bank applies a rate of 11 per cent for house loans while the Maritime Bank sets a rate of 15-17 per cent.
National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council member Cao Sy Kiem said that the classification of interest rates was positive as it reflected the banking system's health.
"Healthy banks can attract depositors even when they cut deposit rates and this will create conditions for them to lower lending rates and boost credit growth. Weak banks won't be able to lure more borrowers by raising deposit rates," he said.
On Monday, Thanh said there should be vanguard banks cutting interest rates to help enterprises access cheaper loans following Government directions, noting that the 7.5-per-cent ceiling deposit rate stipulated by the State Bank could be reduced further under current economic conditions.
VnExpress.net quoted LienVietPostBank vice chairman Nguyen Duc Huong as saying that cutting interest rates should only be moderate to protect the investments by depositors rather than be attempts to save poorly-performing businesses.
"Who will want to be a depositor if interest rates fall to 5 or 6 per cent?," he asked. "For companies suffering losses, even a zero-per-cent interest rate is high. Now that they can't sell their products, they won't be able to manage loans."
Senior economist Vo Tri Thanh calculated that if the deposit cap was to be cut further in this year, it could be reduced 1 percentage point to 6.5 per cent. He said lending rates should be slashed more sharply, possibly to below 10 per cent for prioritised sectors.
At a regular meeting session late last month, the Government discussed the possibility of setting a ceiling lending rate. — VNS