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Bank blips stunt credit growth

Update: November, 13/2013 - 09:19
Clients conduct transactions at an Agribank branch on Lang Ha Street. Experts have forecast lower-than-expected credit growth for 2013. — VNS Photo Thai Ha

HA NOI (VNS)— Experts have forecast lower-than-expected credit growth for 2013 amid mixed results reported by the nation's commercial banks.

Sai Gon-Ha Noi Bank recently said it was approved by the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) to raise its credit growth quota for this year from 12 per cent to 20 per cent, after its lending increased 8.7 per cent in the first nine months – significant progress compared with 2.7 per cent recorded for the first half.

HCM City Development Bank (HDBank)'s outstanding loans were up about 20.4 per cent in nine months and expected to reach 26 per cent by year-end. A bank representative told VnEconomy that sharp interest rate declines, better financial capacity and rallying business performances were facilitating lending.

A Government's October report said about 11,750 enterprises were reopened in the first 10 months, and the number of newly-registered firms increased 9 per cent over the same period last year.

HDBank said it was offering VND1 trillion (US$47.6 million) with interest rates of 8-8.5 per cent per year to help producers, importers and exporters supplement their capital.

Some banks, including Sacombank and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), were reported to be gradually increasing deposit rates to the 7-9 per cent range following forecasts of improved lending between now and the end of the year, especially by importers of goods for the New Year season.

SBV officials said the central bank was considering allowing banks to raise lending limits at a time when general credit growth was targeting an 11-12 per cent annual goal, while it had reached only 7.89 per cent at the end of October.

Meanwhile, nine-month lending growth reached only 4 per cent at Vietcombank, 1.2 per cent at DongA Bank and "a few per cent" at Vietinbank and Eximbank. Loans even declined at Southern Bank, Navibank and PGBank, according to Dau tu Chung khoan (Securities Investment).

Eximbank deputy general director Tran Tan Loc said the bank's nine-month outstanding loans reached only half of its annual target, although it cut lending rates for some import and export loans to below the 7-per cent deposit rate cap.

ACB deputy general director Bui Tan Tai said enterprises were being more careful with borrowing decisions not because of interest rate pressure, but due to weak demand on the market.

"Lending has improved, but it's not easy to attain credit growth of 1.5-2 per cent per month for the remainder of the year to fulfill the annual goal," said Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy director of SBV's HCM City branch.

Former SBV Governor Cao Sy Kiem said general credit growth could reach 10 per cent by year-end if lending progressed well in the fourth quarter. He added that more Government policies to stimulate demand were needed, although it would take time for them to take effect.

"The overall lending situation will be brighter in 2014 when business performances show clearer signs of recovery. However, the more important thing is still how to solve bad debts and clear capital flows," he said.

"The Viet Nam Asset Management Company is undertaking an important role in dealing with bad debts, but a debt trading market is needed for more success," he noted. — VNS


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