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WHOLESALE BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Vietnam

Vietnam's bank chief to be grilled over irresponsible NPL comment

361 requests for formal explanation.

This is what Nguyen Van Binh, governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, received from the National Assembly over a statement he made about non-performing loans.

He said that “as the governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, I could not promise anything about the handling of non-performing loans, or bad debt,” before a National Assembly meeting last week.

With such number of requests, Binh now has the highest number of requests for a formal explanation among Vietnam's government officials.

“This statement is inappropriate because Binh is the head of the agency advising the Government in management the banking sector. Many local voters told me that since the governor said so, he will have to reconfirm that if SBV can effectively monitor the local banking sector,” said Le Viet Truong, Deputy Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee under the NA.

“That's a very hot issue, as a majority of voters have proposed to clarify the management responsibilities of SBV in the management of bad debt, gold, and a number of other negative incidents related to banking activities.”

Cao Tien Vi, former president of the Ho Chi Minh City Businesspeople Association, said he wants to ask the governor if the central bank has the control over cash flow for banking acquisition activities.

"Because if not, many banks, in tackling their bad debt situation, have continued pushing up interest rates, making it very difficult for businesses to access bank loans,” he quipped.

“It is the consequence of the licensing of so many banks in the past, but the correcting process has been so slow. So, we also want to hear an explanation of the governor on the issue,” he added.

Bui Tuan Nghia, production executive of HCMC Industrial Innovation Joint Stock Co, said at the enterprise level, what his firm needs the most is the clarity and transparency in the lending policies. For example, in corporate lending policy, which kind of firms can access a certain lending package and which cannot.

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