Australian lender ANZ has announced to sell its retail business in Vietnam to South Korea's Shinhan to focus resources on institutional banking.
The bank has entered an agreement to transfer all eight branches, including retail staff in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to Shinhan Bank Vietnam, part of the Seoul-based Shinhan Financial Group, Farhan Faruqui, ANZ international group executive, said in a statement on Friday.
Faruqui said the sale will allow the bank to focus resources on institutional banking, its “largest business in Asia.”
“We will be maintaining our presence through our institutional bank in Vietnam which will continue to support our corporate clients in the Greater Mekong Region,” he said.
ANZ’s institutional bank has a presence in 15 different markets in Asia and was ranked as one of the top four corporate banks in the region by market intelligence provider Greenwich Associates in 2016.
ANZ's retail business serves 125,000 customers in Vietnam, and includes $241.2 million in lending assets and $603 million in deposits. The Southeast Asian country's economy has one the world's fastest growing rates.
ANZ said the transfer is subject to regulatory approval and expected to complete by year end.
Rumors about the sale have been circulating since late last year after the bank sold its wealth management and retail business in Singapore, Hong Kong and three other Asian markets to Singaporean DBS for nearly $80 million above book value.
Vietnam's credit growth this year is targeted at 18 percent to facilitate the country's annual economic expansion of 6.7 percent, the central bank has said. Last year the economy grew 6.21 percent from 2015, the slowest in two years, even though the banking sector posted an annual credit growth of 18.39 percent.