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WHOLESALE BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Vietnam

Small Vietnamese banks self-restructure to survive

Their own restructuring plans.

Some small Vietnamese banks have submitted these to the central bank for approval seeing that their survival depends on it.

GP Bank, Navibank, Trust Bank and Western Bank were on the central bank's list for restructuring this year because of their weak liquidity.

These banks show that their bad debt ratios are just around 2 percent of the total outstanding loans. However, the real figure is closer to nearly 10 percent.

To survive and develop, TrustBank and Navibank have taken the initiative in restructuring.

The central bank approved TrustBank's restructuring solution in September and allowed the implementation soon.

TrustBank's plan called for capital from domestic strategic shareholders with the biggest share to be held by a large-scale bank, he said.

The restructuring plan of Navibank has also been placed under the management of the State Bank of Viet Nam and submitted to the central bank and government for approval, Minh said.

Senior economist Pham Do Chi said that many small banks in Vietnam have had modest prescribed capital and their Capital Adequacy Ratio has been also low.

"In particular, the small banks' equity capital often accounts for only 10 per cent of their total assets, while the corresponding figure in other countries is about 20 per cent," Chi said, adding that this was a sign of weakness in the domestic banking sector.

Because of the banks' low equity ratio, the banking sector's restructuring process should not be implemented by merely reducing the number of commercial banks. It should be done through the mergers and acquisitions to create comprehensive improvements in the Vietnamese financial system, Chi said.

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