INTERVIEW BY VIR ON THE WITHDRAWAL OF FOREIGN BANKS FROM VIETNAM
Recently, several international banks such as Citibank and ANZ have decided to withdraw their retail banking business from Vietnam and some other regional markets in Asia. These banks have begun this re-positioning to focus on other institutional clients in other financial hubs such as Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and London.
Mr. Kent Wong, Partner and Head of the Banking & Capital Markets team at VCI Legal, was interviewed by Vietnam Investment Review to provide thoughts on their concerns related to the sudden withdrawal. With his vast experience in Asia markets, Mr. Wong elaborated on the reasons why some foreign banks are closing their retail banking doors. Costs to maintain retail banking activities are a big factor instrumental to the retreat of both ANZ and Citibank. In addition, re-deploying resources to other places where higher returns are expected is what these banking branches are aiming for.
Mr. Wong further provided his expert opinions on the competition between foreign and local banks in Vietnam. He noted several specific banking products that foreign banks might face in fierce competition with local lenders. Apart from pointing out some inherent weaknesses of foreign banks in Vietnam, he also suggested the recipe for foreign-invested banks’ success to attract more customers in Vietnam.