South Korean investors ‘play big’ in Vietnam’s finance & banking market
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnamese bankers have been warned that they should beware of not only well-known banks from Japan, UK, Singapore and the US, but rivals from South Korea as well.


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Korea Development Bank (KDB) in mid-April signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Vietnam’s BIDV.

Of equitized banks, BIDV now has the highest state’s ownership ratio, over 95 percent, which also means that the there is still room for foreign investors in the bank – 30 percent as stipulated by law.

Vietnamese bankers have been warned that they should beware of not only well-known banks from Japan, UK, Singapore and the US, but rivals from South Korea as well.

Since BIDV began listing its shares in 2014, the bank’s managers said it was looking for foreign partners and considering selling 25-30 percent of capital.

BIDV’s CEO Phan Duc Tu recently confirmed that the bank wants to find foreign strategic partners. The biggest problem for the bank is that while it cannot sell stakes at prices lower than the market, investors want discount rates when buying a stake in large lots.

Besides the South Korean partner, BIDV has one more partner, from Japan. Analysts commented that they may become strategic partners of the bank with the biggest total assets in Vietnam.

Recently, Daegu, another large South Korean bank, signed a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Vietnam’s OCB, a joint stock bank.

In South Korea, Daegu now holds 50 percent of the market share for providing loans to SMEs. According to OCB’s CEO Nguyen Dinh Tung, OCB hopes Daegu would give support to OCB in many different fields, from remittances, international payments to product and SME client development.

In 2008, Shinhan became one of the first five 100 percent foreign owned banks licensed in Vietnam. In late 2011, to confirm its commitments to make long-term investment in Vietnam, Shinhan bought a 50 percent stake of Shinhan Vina, a 50/50 joint venture between Shinhan and Vietnam’s Vietcombank, and changed its name to Shinhan Vietnam.

The name of the bank was mentioned recently after it outstripped four rivals to acquire ANZ Vietnam’s retail banking division. Sources said the division is very ‘lucrative’ and the South Korean bank paid a higher amount to get it. 

In early August 2016, Woori Bank, another bank from South Korea, got a license to open a 100 percent foreign owned bank in Vietnam.

Analysts said that the moves all show great interest of South Korean bankers in the Vietnamese finance & banking market and their plans to ‘play big’ here.

Shinhan Vietnam’s CEO, speaking to the Korean press, said the bank hopes to become the sixth largest bank in credit card in Vietnam and is targeting the third position in the next two to three  years.


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Nam Hai

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