South Korean bank plans expansion in Vietnam: report

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South Korea's Hana Bank is planning to launch operations in Vietnam, the Korea JoongAng Daily reported Tuesday.

According to the report, Hana Bank's president Kim Jeong Tae met with senior Vietnamese financial officials and expressed his interest in doing business in Vietnam's growing economy.

The bank has a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City but is seeking to turn it into a bank branch, the report said.

"I want Asia to be our stepping stone as we launch into the global market," Kim was quoted as saying. "Although Vietnam is currently struggling with high inflation, conditions are likely to improve and investments from Korea are expected to increase."

According to Fitch Ratings, Hana is the sixth largest bank in Korea with total assets of 141.7 trillion wons (US$131 billion). The bank is the flagship subsidiary of Hana Financial Group.

Two other South Korean banks, Shinhan Bank and Kookmin Bank, have operating branches in Vietnam.

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