Foreign investors seek to buy Vietnam banks bad debts

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Foreign investors have expressed interest in buying bad debts after Vietnam launched an asset management firm to buy up banks' non-performing loans last month.

Many foreign companies want buy Vietnam's bad debts but they need a clearer policy framework, Karin Finkelston, vice president of the International Finance Corporation for the Asia Pacific region, told news website

IFC, a World Bank subsidiary, said Vietnamese authorities should collaborate with foreign financial partners who have experience in dealing with bad debts.

IFC too wants to take part in selling and buying bad debts, restructuring banks, and reforming state-owned companies in Vietnam,Finkelston said.

It has invested in bad-debt settlement programs in some countries and hopes it can help resolve the problem in Vietnam by providing funding and consultancy, she said.

Setting up the Vietnam Asset Management Company is a good thing to rescue lenders, but the country should also develop a market mechanism to quickly resolve the debts, she said.

Pham Manh Thuong, deputy director of the Ministry of Finance's Debt and Asset Trading Company, said a number of foreign banks and funds have come to study the country's market for bad debts.

"I myself have held talks with some big investors who said they are ready to invest even billions of dollars to buy Vietnamese bad debt," he said.

But it is not an easy market for them, he said.

Apart from the complex procedures and lack of certainty about cooperation from Vietnamese banks, their biggest problem is the lack of transparency about bad debts, he said.
Robert Young, a financial services partner at UK company Deloitte, told news website VnEconomy that foreign investors are ready to buy Vietnamese bad debt, but the issue is whether Vietnam is ready.

The VAMC is expected to buy VND40-70 trillion worth bad debts this year.

Nguyen Duc Huong, deputy chairman of the Hanoi-based LienVietPostBank, said bad debts Vietnam should be sold to foreign investors who should be allowed to set up full-fledged debt trading operations in Vietnam.

In May bad debts were 4.67 percent of banks' outstanding loans, according to the State Bank of Vietnam.

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