Vietnam state bank to scrutinize lending activities

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The State Bank of Vietnam will sign a joint-circular with the Ministry of Public Security to improve anti-crime efforts in banking and lending activities, according to a banking conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday.

Central bank governor Nguyen Van Binh made the announcement at the conference, where officials pointed out that the banking industry has failed to properly work with police in handling violations and corruption cases in bank lending activities.

Tran Duy Thanh, chief of the Department of Corruption Investigation Police, said investigating criminal cases related to banking is difficult because many banks don't openly cooperate with police due to "monetary security concerns."

Meanwhile, corruption cases are getting sophisticated, as the Vietnamese bank system is developing rapidly, said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

According to Pham Anh Tuan, deputy chief of the Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption's office, a common problem is when bank officials abuse their power to fake passbooks and customers' signatures in order to pocket money.

Some corrupt banking officials were also found entering customers' deposits into their accounts, not assessing mortgaged properties in accordance with regulations, or joining hands with private companies to misappropriate the banks' money, he added.

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Phuc urged the state bank and credit organizations to scrutinize their staff, and to strictly punish leaders who allow their subordinates to commit crimes.

In response, Binh pledged that the central bank will strengthen inspections and observation over the banking system in the future. It will also work with commercial banks to establish a fund of between VND15 billion to 20 billion (US$714,000 to $952,000) to reward people who help prevent crimes, he said.

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