VietNamNet Bridge – The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has asked Bui Quang Tien, head of the Payment Department, to explain his comments concerning ATM customers.
At a press conference held on February 27, Mr. Tien used language that was considered offensive by many when speaking about ATM customers.
“People seem to sign bank contracts with their eyes closed,” he said. “Once these contracts are signed they cannot just be undone. When somebody accepts an ATM card it is their responsibility to scrutinise the terms of that contract, including transfer fees. This is all included in the contract the customer signs with the bank upon opening an account.”
He went on to remark that, “Vietnamese people are just now coming out of a rice-based agricultural civilization. They are familiar with living from the land, but have not yet made adaptations to the new financial system, which may include ATM fees. They will have to learn how to cope with it. People should carefully consider the fees that apply to them and withdraw their money accordingly.”
The SBV has made a statement that these were Tien’s personal opinions, and did not reflect the central bank’s viewpoints. While commercial banks continue to develop the personal banking market in Vietnam, the SBV has pledged to support bank customers concerning ATM fees. They have asked Tien to reconsider the language he used in his statement to reporters.
At a news conference, Tien told reporters that he was inexperienced with handling public relations and may have made some inappropriate comparisons, adding that he hoped anyone offended by his statements would forgive his carelessness.
“I used these terms in order to create a friendly and open atmosphere for dialogue with reporters. Although my words may have been taken out of context of the entire discussion, I did not mean to offend ATM users,” he said.
He made an apology to cardholders and the general public, adding that the affair was a lesson to him.
According to the SBV Circular 35, cardholders can now be charged a maximum of VND1,000 per transaction at ATMs owned by their own bank, with that limit set to increase to VND2,000 in 2014 and VND3,000 from 2015. Currently transactions ATMs owned by other banks can carry a fee of VND3,000 each.