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Vietnam to hike capital for state-owned banks

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Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue. VIET NAM NEWS/ANN

Vietnam to hike capital for state-owned banks

The Vietnamese government has finally announced a detailed roadmap to increase charter capital for large state-owned banks in the first quarter of this year.

During a working visit to Military Bank for the Lunar New Year on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue said the government would increase charter capital by 10 trillion dong ($430 million) for Vietcombank and Vietinbank in the first quarter of this year.

As for Agribank, all its profit this year will be used to increase capital instead of contributing to the state budget.

It was the first time the government detailed a roadmap for the banks’ capital hike since 2016 when the banks asked for the increase.

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), on behalf of the state, currently holds 74.8 per cent of capital in Vietcombank and 64.46 per cent in Vietinbank.

Meanwhile, fully state-owned lender Agribank is preparing to launch its initial public offering in the near future.

If getting the funding right in this quarter, the three banks could better meet Basel II standards this year as required by the SBV as well as be qualified to expand credit to support the country’s economic growth.

The banks are under great pressure to hike capital to satisfy Basel II standards, which are recommendations on banking laws and regulations issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

Under the SBV’s regulations, banks must maintain a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of at least eight per cent as per Basel II norms starting this year. The CAR of state-owned banks will fail to reach the minimum level set by the SBV if they fail to increase capital.

Raising capital has been a struggle for Vietnamese banks in recent years. For example, Vietinbank – the fourth largest listed bank – has seen its capital remain unchanged since 2014 at 37.23 trillion dong.

Earlier, Fitch Ratings estimated the Vietnamese banking system could face a capital shortfall of almost $20 billion, equal to nine per cent of gross domestic product, to meet Basel II and increase allowance coverage to a level that reflects underlying asset-quality problems.

Many local banks also issued a large amount of bonds to raise capital last year. The latest report from Saigon Securities Incorporation showed that banks issued bonds worth 94 trillion dong in the first eleven months of last year.

The issuance made banks the main player in the corporate bond market in the period, accounting for 45.5 per cent of the market’s total bond value.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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