Eximbank waives controversial $358,000 debt after procedure misstep

By Le Tuyet   March 22, 2024 | 04:39 pm PT
Eximbank waives controversial $358,000 debt after procedure misstep
Eximbank deputy CEO Nguyen Ho Hoang Vu speaks to the press in Ho Chi Minh City on March 21, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/An Phuong
An Eximbank employee's failure to adhere to proper procedures in managing a customer's VND8.8 billion ($358,000) credit card debt has led the bank to decide against collecting the amount, according to an executive.

Eximbank customer Pham Huy Anh, from Quang Ninh province, witnessed his bank's credit card debt soar from VND8.5 million in 2013 to VND8.84 billion last year, even though he never received the card.

Eximbank's Deputy CEO Nguyen Ho Hoang Vu, in a press briefing on Thursday, explained that for overdue credit card debts, it is necessary for the responsible employee to review the customer's debt records to suggest a fair interest and fine. This proposal must then receive approval from a higher authority before the employee can initiate communication with the customer.

"However, in Pham Huy Anh's case, an employee neglected to adhere to this protocol," he stated.

He mentioned that Eximbank had convened with Anh to address the matter, deciding not to pursue the VND8.8 billion debt, noting this as an unprecedented occurrence in the bank's operational history.

Nonetheless, just a week prior, the bank had asserted that the interest and fines applied to Anh’s debt were accurately calculated.

It added that it had notified and met directly with Anh many times over the last 11 years but the customer still had not provided a plan to repay.

The bank also noted it had communicated with and met Anh directly multiple times throughout the past 11 years, yet the customer had not proposed a repayment plan.

Vo Minh Tuan, Director of the State Bank of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City branch, remarked that Eximbank applied compound interest to Anh’s debt, a method also employed by some other credit card issuers.

However, Tuan emphasized that the bank should have guaranteed Anh was fully informed about the interest, the debt, and that he consistently received account updates via email and text messages.

Tuan mentioned that the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has directed banks to audit their customers' debts, particularly focusing on those who have ceased using their services, to avoid a recurrence of such an incident.

Anh said in 2013 a bank employee offered to issue debit and credit cards to him. He received the debit card but never got the credit card, with the employee telling him he did not qualify for one, he claimed.

He only found out about the card in 2017 when he went to another bank to apply for a loan. He said the signature on the card issuance contract was not his and therefore refused to pay the debt.

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