Banks find it difficult to attract deposits on interest rate cuts

By Quynh Trang   October 30, 2020 | 08:37 pm PT
Banks find it difficult to attract deposits on interest rate cuts
An employee counts Vietnamese banknotes at a bank in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The growth in bank deposits in the first eight months of the year was the lowest in five years as interest rates dropped and Covid-19 hit incomes.

Against an accretion of VND300-400 trillion ($17.26- 21.58 billion) on average in that period, this year it has been only VND263 trillion.

In the first half of the year nearly 31 million workers were affected by the pandemic, either losing their jobs or seeing their incomes cut. The plummeting deposit interest rates have made people look for more profitable places to park their money.

The rates have been falling since there are few takers for loans and the lending growth rate is also at a multi-year low.

At major banks, in just the last few months the interest rate for savings deposits of less than six months has decreased by around 1 percentage point, and for one year by 0.5-1 percentage point

Nguyen Duc Thanh, former head of the Vietnam Institute for Economic and Policy Research, said in the early part of the year many people believed it was safer to put their money in banks because of the economic turmoil.

But according to experts, with interest rates now plunging, people are likely to pull their money out and invest in property.

Employees of a state-owned bank said that at the end of July and early August, when gold prices shot up, customers withdrew hundreds of millions of dong (VND100 million = $4,300) from their savings accounts to buy gold.

But gold admittedly accounts for a small proportion of the wealth held by the public.

The stock market saw an influx of F0 investors - as SSI Securities Corporation calls people opening trading accounts for the first time - in March.

In the first nine months retail investors opened more than 252,000 new accounts, an increase of nearly 35 percent over the whole of 2019.

Thanh said most people would find gold and stocks too risky and instead opt to invest their money in property since supply in large cities is not likely to increase much in the near future.

Of nearly 10,000 people who took part in a recent VnExpress survey, 36 percent preferred to invest in real estate, 25 percent still in banks, 16 percent in stocks, and the rest in other asset classes such as gold, bonds, crypto currencies, and others.

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