Bank rating report raises doubts, upsets lenders

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A new report that ranked 32 Vietnamese banks based on their competitiveness has upset many lenders who say the authors were partial and unprofessional.

Many bankers told news website VnExpress that they had never been contacted by the authors of the 2012 Credit Rating of Vietnam report, which rated them on an A to D scale.

An executive at Maritime Bank, which was named in group B, said the authors did not conduct any interview or ask for statistics from the lender.

"If we compare this ranking to the one by the central bank's credit information center early this year, it's just too different," the executive said, noting that Maritime is one of 12 largest banks in the country, which together account for 85 percent of the local banking market.

Bankers said bank ratings have to based on a comprehensive set of criteria to prevent hurting the reputation of banks. Many planned to file official complaints with the State Bank of Vietnam about the report, according to VnExpress.

The report, released last week, claimed that three banks were still facing unstable business conditions while most listed lenders were highly competitive.

Vietbank, Western Bank, and the Mekong Development Bank have weak networks and even though their financial capacity is "acceptable," they do not have a strong presence in the market, it said.

The rest of the banks are divided relatively evenly in other groups, with nine major lenders named in the top league.

VnExpress said some A-list banks responded quite positively to the ratings.

While the authors have admitted that their assessments were "not thorough", they said the report should be considered as an independent reference source only.

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A meeting was held at the State President's Office on September 9 to announce the report. However, Bui Truong Giang, spokesperson for the office, told Tuoi Tre newspaper that the remarks of the report are not the official viewpoints of government agencies.

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