Vietnam's legislators demand "healthy' banking system

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Vietnamese legislators passed a resolution Friday requiring the central bank to reduce bad debts and make significant progress in the restructuring of the banking system next year.

The central bank's governor must control inflation and ensure that the producers of essential products in the country have access to loans, according to the resolution, passed by nearly 97 percent of the National Assembly.

"The goal is to have a healthy banking system in 2015," it said, asking the State Bank of Vietnam to severely punish violations in the financial market. 

The resolution, which comes at a time when Vietnamese banks are under stress, gives the legislature the power to closely monitor the central bank to make sure it can deliver on its promises. It coincides with a new law that will require top officials to win the confidence of lawmakers starting next year.

State Bank Governor Nguyen Van Binh said earlier this month the ratio of bad debt in the country's banking system was 8.82 percent as of the end of September. Some analysts have said the figure may be even higher because local banks tend to understate their non-performing loans.

Lawmakers voted on the resolution at the end of their month-long session in Hanoi.

They also demanded that the Ministry of Construction help the real estate sector recover and take steps to bring balance to the market, where developers have been criticized for not doing enough to meet the housing demand of lower-income Vietnamese.

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