For differing reasons a number of foreign-owned banks are wrapping up the operations of certain branches.
Seven branches of foreign banks and one foreign-owned financial company are finalizing procedures to cease operations in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Among the names are the Ho Chi Minh City branches of ANZ, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Shinhan Bank, and Credit Agricole SA, joined by the LaoViet Bank branch in Hanoi, while the financial leasing company is ANZ V-Track, according to data from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV).
The news came out last week, causing doubts about the long-term commitment of these foreign banks in Vietnam. Bank representatives, however, were quick to explain that information has been misrepresented regarding changes made to their operations. They claimed that this is a perfectly normal step in changing their operation model to that of a 100 per cent foreign owned bank in Vietnam.
For example, Standard Chartered Bank said that in 2009 it transferred all assets and liabilities in Vietnam from Standard Chartered PLC, Ho Chi Minh Branch, to the newly established Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam Limited entity, which is their wholly owned subsidiary. The Ho Chi Minh Branch of Standard Chartered has been dormant since 2009 and in late August the SBV, at the bank's request, gave final approval for the asset transfers carried out five years ago.
A similar story can been found in the case of HSBC Vietnam, as their representative confirmed that its Ho Chi Minh City branch actually ceased operations in 2009 when the bank transferred all legal rights and obligations from the branch to HSBC Vietnam, which is a new 100 per cent foreign-owned entity.