Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – The State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) on Tuesday approved in principle South Korean Woori Bank’s plan to set up a wholly foreign owned bank in Việt Nam.
Under Document 5829/NHNN-TTGSNH, SBV also approved a draft list of Woori Bank Việt Nam’s board of members, members of the supervisory board and general director.
For an official licence, Woori Bank was asked by the SBV to complete legal dossiers in accordance with the current regulations and submit them to the SBV governor for approval.
Once it receives the licence to operate, Woori Bank - South Korea’s largest bank in terms of consolidated assets as of the end of March - expects to be a vehicle that will help to expand South Korean investment in Việt Nam, where it has been limited to operating two branches.
South Korea is now the largest foreign investor in Việt Nam, with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and LG Electronics Inc bringing large investments to turn it into a Southeast Asian production hub.
Other major Korean companies in Việt Nam are Kumho Construction, Posco group, Hanjin Logistics and Kumho Tire.
A free trade agreement between South Korea and Việt Nam that came into effect last December gives more investment incentives to Korean firms. South Korea invested US$4.2 billion in Việt Nam in the first seven months this year, accounting for 32.5 per cent of Việt Nam’s total investment capital.
After receiving the official approval, Woori Bank will also seek to strengthen its localised services for Vietnamese retail customers through channels such as its mobile banking platform Wibee Bank and chat app Wibee Talk.
Việt Nam currently has six wholly foreign-owned banks. They are HSBC Việt Nam, ANZ Việt Nam, Standard Chartered Việt Nam, Hong Leong Việt Nam and Shinhan Việt Nam, besides Public Bank Berhad.
According to experts, more foreign banks are expected to enter Việt Nam’s market, especially after the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community late last year.
They recommend that Vietnamese banks must operate on a larger scale, with huge investments in technology and products through consolidations and mergers, to create better and stronger banks that can compete with foreign banks.
By 2020, in accordance with the commitment to the World Trade Organisation, Việt Nam will have to completely open its doors in the banking sector. -VNS