Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Banks seek foreign partners


Customers make transactions at a Sacombank branch in the Central Highland Province of Kon Tum. Many major commercial banks are making efforts to seek foreign strategic partners to sharpen their competitive edge. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Le Lam

HCM CITY (VNS)— Many major commercial banks are making efforts to seek foreign strategic partners to sharpen their competitive edge, according to a report in Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper.

The Sai Gon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), for example, is looking for a partner as it completes its second phase of increasing capital during the fourth quarter.

During the first phase, the bank issued shares to pay dividends for 2011 and for key officials after getting the State Bank of Viet Nam’s permission to raise its legal capital by 17 per cent.

The bank’s legal capital was increased from VND10.74 trillion (US$502.80 million) to VND12.42 trillion ($581.69 million).

Pham Huu Phu, Sacombank chairman, said that it was targeting partners with strong financial capabilities.

In the past, Sacombank partnered with Australia-based ANZ which held a 10 per cent stake and Dragon Capital, which held a 7 per cent stake. However, ANZ later sold its shares to Eximbank.

Because of the change, in early 2012, Sacombank said it would sell 20 per cent of its stake to a new partner and open a branch in Myanmar in the future.

A top official at the Dong A Commercial Joint-Stock Bank said the bank was also looking for a strategic partner, a move which was approved by the bank’s executive board at its shareholders’ meeting in late April.

But to ensure benefits for existing shareholders, the bank will take its time to sell its shares to the foreign investor.

According to monetary experts, the domestic banks hope that foreign partners will enhance their banks’ financial strength so they can realise their development strategies.

However, in 2008, many foreign financial institutions encountered difficulties and thus were more reluctant to become strategic partners.

Experts said that banks should carefully consider these partnerships to ensure financial stability in the future and benefits to both sides.

Former SBV Governor Cao Si Kiem said the decisions should not be made hastily.

The two sides must have a common strategic orientation and vision to ensure the effectiveness of their relationship.

“Having foreign strategic partners will help domestic banks have more opportunities to develop. But if they can’t find appropriate partners, the banks would still be able to carry out their development plans,” Kiem told Dau Tu. — VNS

By vivian