30.03.2023, 08:49

Banks expanding share over borders


At last week’s AGM, privately-held Nam A Bank signalled its ambition to expand its footprint in the international market by establishing a wholly-owned commercial bank, or to set up a branch in a foreign country.

This is part of the bank’s long-term strategy to diversify revenues, capitalise on other prospective foreign markets, and build a robust banking ecosystem.

“This plan is in line with the upward trajectory of other financial institutions in a bid to support Vietnamese businesses in their international trade and investment activities,” said a bank representative. “We haven’t decided the exact location, but our target would be focused on the Asian market first.”

Regarding its domestic network, Nam A Bank targets to open at least 20 new branches and transaction offices in various localities, such as Quang Ninh, Nghe An, Dak Nong, Binh Thuan, and Long An provinces.

The bank’s AGM also approved its forthcoming listing on the Vietnamese stock market. The proposal to list shares was authorised last year, but was subsequently postponed to protect the interests of shareholders in light of the unfavourable macroeconomic environment and volatile equity market.

In recent years, commercial banks have continued to expand their network abroad. In late February, MB officially converted its Cambodian branch to a wholly-owned commercial bank, MBCambodia, in Phnom Penh.

Dinh Quang Huy, chairman of MBCambodia’s Board of Directors, said that it would concentrate on retail and digital banking to provide Cambodians with comfortable and swift, digital-first experiences.

“Given its expertise in implementing banking and financial operations in Vietnam, particularly in the retail sector based on digital innovation, MB believes in a promising future for MBCambodia,” Huy said

The management of MB has also pledged support for the training and delivery of modern digital banking-based retail products and services for MBCambodia, as well as technologically advanced products and services deploying.

Among the top 10 banks with the largest capital and total assets in the domestic banking system, Vietcombank, BIDV, VietinBank, MB, SHB, HDBank, and Sacombank are among prominent lenders that have been expanding their market share abroad through their subsidiaries, wholly-owned banks, branches, and representative offices.

Vietcombank boasts a branch in Australia, representative offices in the US, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and a subsidiary bank in Laos. Elsewhere, BIDV currently has representative offices in the Czech Republic, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Russia, while Sacombank has subsidiaries in Laos and Cambodia. HDBank also has a representative office in Myanmar, and SHB has two branches in Laos and a wholly-owned bank in Cambodia.

According to Brand Finance’s Banking 500 report for 2023, Vietnamese brands have posted an overall growth of 31.3 per cent in brand value, amounting over $2 billion compared to their 2022 positions.

“We believe that Vietnam’s banks are ready for consolidation in the next few years – given that the nation has many brands relative to its scale – to leverage efficiencies and bolster their strength. If this proceeds, it is important that these brands play a central role in the process and that the resulting combined entities identify the individual brands that will deliver maximum value,” said Alex Haigh, managing director of Asia-Pacific at Brand Finance.