Vietnam central bank to force more weak banks into mergers, takeovers

By Anh Vu, Thanh Nien News

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Vietnam central bank to force more weak banks into mergers, takeovers


Six or seven banks would be forced into mergers and takeovers this year as part of an ongoing plan to restructure and strengthen the banking system, State Bank of Vietnam governor Nguyen Van Binh said Tuesday.
The plan had entered its second phase and the number of banks taken over by other banks was expected to climb to 7-10 by year end.
The central bank had fully dealt with eight out of nine weak banks it had identified at the start of the plan in late 2011.
A wholly foreign-owned bank was in final negotiations with the Hanoi-based GPBank to acquire the latter, the last of the nine.
The deal would mark the first time that a 100 percent foreign-owned bank bought a local lender.
Since the last quarter the central bank had been sending inspectors to local banks to oversee their overhaul and had got independent accounting firms to examine credit quality.
Non-performing loans, cross ownership, and mismanagement were stymieing the banking system.
The central bank had estimated the bad debts ratio to be 7 percent as against banks' claims of 3.6-3.9 percent.
The state-run VAMC, launched last year, plans to buy VND70-100 trillion (US$3.32-4.74) worth of bad debts from banks this year.
It has bought VND39.3 trillion ($1.9 billion) worth from 35 banks as of the end of last year.

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