Bottom line: Headless public banks thrive in Vietnam

By Ky Duyen   July 18, 2018 | 01:30 am PT
Bottom line: Headless public banks thrive in Vietnam
Board chairs at Vietnam's BIDV and Vietinbank are currently empty.
Vietinbank and BIDV have lost their chairmen to retirement and a new job appointment, but they are doing just fine.

Nguyen Van Thang is no longer the chairman of the Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank).

But his successor has not been appointed yet.

Late last week, Thang was appointed Vice Chairman of the Quang Ninh People’s Committee.

During his four years as the head of Vietinbank, Thang played a central role in reestablishing trust in the state-owned bank, which had been involved in the country’s biggest ever fraud Huynh Thi Huyen Nhu wherein VND4.9 trillion ($211 million) was stolen.

The bank had over VND1,100 trillion ($47.8 billion) worth of assets last year and outstanding loans of over VND840 trillion ($36.1 billion). Its assets expanded to VND1,140 trillion ($49.1 billion) by the end of H1 2018.

Vietinbank has set itself a profit target of VND10.8 trillion ($465 million) this year, an increase of 17 percent over last year.

While it has only been a week since Vietinbank has not had a chairperson, the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) has been officially headless for almost two years.

The previous incumbent was Tran Bac Ha, who retired in September 2016.

The Communist Party’s corruption watchdog recently found Ha responsible for “very serious” violations linked to a massive fraud at the Vietnam Construction Bank (VNCB).

Ha had overseen a loan of VND4.7 trillion ($202 million) to 12 companies owned by Pham Cong Danh, former chairman of VNCB.

According to the Central Inspection Committee, this violated the “principle of democratic centralism” and regulations, duties and responsibilities of his position.

Tran Anh Tuan, a board member, took over temporarily, but resigned last May.

Despite the absence of a board chairman, BIDV has been growing its assets and profits.

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