Sacombank's headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City
Sacombank said it's business as usual after the resignation of its chairman, assuring that preparations had been made for the personnel change.
The lender, formally known as Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank, announced Friday that Chairman Dang Van Thanh had resigned and was immediately replaced by Deputy Chairman Pham Huu Phu.
Despite reports describing the resignation as a surprise move, Phu said it had been anticipated.
"Thanh had asked for a resignation on July 10, but some shareholders wanted him to remain in the position until the State Bank of Vietnam completed its inspection at Sacombank," Phu told Thanh Nien in an interview after the announcement.
"The inspection ended on October 5. After Thanh was summoned by the police, the management board held a meeting and reached an agreement to allow Thanh to resign as per his previous request," he said.
The new chairman said in fact he and Tram Be, another deputy chairman, have been handling the managerial responsibilities at the bank since May.
"So Thanh's resignation doesn't affect the management at Sacombank," Phu said, adding that Thanh now owns 4 percent of the bank and his son, Dang Hong Anh, holds 3.46 percent.
He also rejected rumors that two officials from the bank had been arrested.
No findings from the central bank's inspection have been released.
Sacombank already went through a major management shakeup in May which saw outsiders successfully take control of the lender. Only three Sacombank officials remained on the 10-member management board. Four of the new members came from Southern Bank and two were from Eximbank.
The State Securities Commission of Vietnam in June imposed a fine on a group of investors, including two financial investment firms linked to Eximbank, for secretly buying Sacombank shares.
Phu, formerly a deputy chairman at Eximbank, does not personally hold stakes in Sacombank. He joined Sacombank's board in May as the representative of the 9.73 percent stake that Eximbank owns in Sacombank.
The personnel change on Friday caused Sacombank to sink to its lowest level in more than eight months on Ho Chi Minh City stock exchange. The eighth-biggest partly private lender by assets fell to VND18,800, which Bloomberg said was its lowest close since February 23.
The lender posted pre-tax profits of VND2,259 billion (US$108.4 million) for the first ten months, equal to 66 percent of its 2012 target. Bad debt was reported at 1.26 percent of its total loans.
Phu said Friday that business has continued to proceed normally at the bank and that the resignation did not spark a run on deposits.
News website VnExpress reported the State Bank of Vietnam injected nearly VND5.4 trillion ($259 million) into the market through open market operations on Friday. According to the report, that was the largest infusion of funds since the arrest of Nguyen Duc Kien, one of the founders of Asia Commercial Bank, in August.
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