Vietnamese banks ride along wave of Japanese tie-ups

By Dam Tuan   June 20, 2016 | 06:24 pm GMT+7

Similar cultures and retail banking strategies are prime advantages for banking cooperation between Vietnam and Japan, and leading Vietnamese banks including Sacombank, Vietcombank, Vietinbank and Eximbank have hooked up with Japanese firms to become strategic partners.

To reinforce their financial ability, Vietnamese banks are racing to scout foreign partners, and Japanese investors are likely to be the first option in the coming tide of banking and finance M&As, according to the online Vietnam Merger and Acquisition forum.

On May 4 this year, Sacombank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Resona Bank Ltd., Saitama Resona Bank Ltd. and the Kinki Osaka Bank Ltd. (under Resona Holdings – Japan) to diversify its products and expand customer relations.

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Japanese investors are the primary choice for Vietnamese banks in the latest wave of M&As and state divestment in the banking sector. Photo by VnExpress Photo Contest/Nguyen Minh Quan

Sacombank and the three Japanese banks will provide banking products and services for customers in Japan, Vietnam and other markets where Sacombank operates. These services will include lending, money transfers and international payments. The Japanese banks will also help Sacombank introduce its services to Resona Holdings’ customers and associated firms.

Resona Holdings is now the fourth largest financial group in Japan with total assets of approximately JPY 46 trillion ($438 billion), focusing on the retail segment in Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa and Saitama. As of March 31, 2015, Resona Holdings had opened 1,443 transaction points in Japan, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore.

At the ceremony, Sacombank Vice Chairman Cum CEO Phan Huy Khang said: “Globalization, international economic integration and trade liberalization policy are now the stand-out trends of modern society and Sacombank. We have been accelerating our international integration through partnerships with many prestigious global organizations. Take Resona Holdings for instance; with the same vision, strategy and strong economic potential, I believe this cooperation will be an absolute success.”

Resona Holdings Chairman cum CEO of Resona Bank Ltd Kazuhiro Higashi said: “Vietnam is a prime destination for many Japanese enterprises to expand their businesses, and our clients who are interested in investing in Vietnam are growing.”

Previously, VietinBank sold a 12.79 percent stake to the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd, before raising its foreign ownership limit to 30 percent.

Vietcombank has also sold a partial stake to Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd, while Eximbank has sold a 20 percent stake to Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

Investment funds such as HD Saigon Finance and other Vietnamese credit institutions are also getting in on the act, looking for Japanese partners who share a common culture and retail banking strategies.