Financial sector profits surge despite Covid-19: report

By Nguyen Quy   February 16, 2021 | 06:01 pm PT
Financial sector profits surge despite Covid-19: report
An employee counts Vietnamese banknotes at a bank in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Even as non-financial companies saw profits plunge due to the impact of Covid-19 last year, the financial sector seemed to be immune, with theirs surging by 10.5 percent.

All three sub-sectors, banking, insurance and financial services, enjoyed a boom, according to a report by financial data provider FiinGroup.

Banking saw post-tax profits increase by 16.1 percent while the insurance and financial services industries, the latter mostly comprising stock brokerages, grew by 24.4 percent and 50.8 percent.

Banks’ rising profits were due to an improvement in net interest margin (NIM) and lower provisioning for bad debts, while cutting operating costs helped the insurance industry navigate the pandemic, the report said.

For securities companies, growth mostly came from increased liquidity thanks to a surge in the number of retail investors and margin lending.

Nearly 393,659 trading accounts were opened, up 109 percent. With most banks capping deposit interest rates at around 5.6 percent, down from 7 percent in early 2020, investors turned to securities.

The trend began last year when the benchmark VN-Index slumped in March after the first Covid-19 outbreak but recovered in the remaining months as the government imposed drastic measures to contain the pandemic and sustain economic growth.

But companies in other sectors saw profits plunge by 22.2 percent, with eight out of 16 sectors witnessing a decline, said the report, which compiled data from 841 listed, non-banking companies that published their financial statements.

The sharpest fall was 241.5 percent by the travel and leisure industry, followed by oil and gas and property.

The remaining eight sectors posted growth, led by telecommunications (102.2 percent) and basic resources (82.8 percent).

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