Vietnam's bank loans to expand 15 pct this year: central bank

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Vietnam's central bank expects bank loans to increase 15 percent this year, lower than the original target.

State bank of Vietnam Governor Nguyen Van Binh said the growth will be kept at 17 percent or below next year.

The monetary authority will focus on providing loans for agricultural production, exporters, support industries and small- and medium-sized enterprises, he told the press Monday.

The central bank originally capped credit growth at 20 percent this year, but loans expanded at a much slower pace than expected. Credit grew only 8.61 percent in the first 10 months.

Last week, the central bank decided to ease restrictions on real estate loans.

Speaking at a National Assembly session this week, Binh said the central bank will ask commercial lenders to support struggling companies that have difficulties repaying loans by extending payment deadlines and lowering interest rates.

He also said local banks need to be more selective in choosing clients because bad debts are rising.

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