Vietcombank gains preliminary agreements to open US office

By Reuters   November 1, 2018 | 07:55 pm PT
Vietcombank gains preliminary agreements to open US office
Men withdraw money from an ATM at a branch of Vietcombank in Hanoi, Vietnam, April 22, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham
Vietcombank VCB.HM has made a significant step in becoming the first Vietnamese bank to open a representative office in the U.S.

The move by Vietnam’s biggest bank by market value comes as diplomatic ties between Vietnam and the U.S. are on the rise and is part of a push to expand internationally as it aims for a place among the world’s top 300 banking and financial groups.

Vietcombank has obtained approval from the U.S. Federal Reserve and an agreement in principle from the New York State Department of Financial Services to open a representative office in New York City, it said on its website.

The State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, owns 77 percent of Vietcombank. Japan’s Mizuho Bank [MZFGAE.UL] is the second biggest investor with a 15 percent stake.

“As Vietnam becomes more attractive to U.S. investors, Vietcombank’s representative office ... will be an extended arm for Vietcombank in the U.S. to support business development in this very potential market,” it said, adding that it aims to obtain a license and open a New York office as soon as possible.

The representative office would liaise with prospective clients and banks in the U.S. and engage in other non-transactional activities such as analysis of the banking and financial services market.

The U.S. is now one of Vietnam’s top trading partners and is expected by some analysts to benefit from the continuing U.S.-China trade conflict, offering an alternative investment and trade destination.

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