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LARGE BANKS CUT LENDING INTEREST RATE TO AID BUSINESSES
On Wednesday, four State-owned banks said they would cut interest rates on đồng loans in the Government’s priority sectors to support firms in 2019, starting from Thursday.
According to the banks, the cut followed up on the Government’s instruction to support domestic production and businesses.
Under the plan, Agribank, VietinBank, Vietcombank and BIDV will reduce the rate by 0.5 percentage points per year for loans to firms in the Government’s five priority groups of agriculture businesses, producing goods for export, small- and medium-sized enterprises, enterprises operating in auxiliary industries and high-tech enterprises including start-ups.
Trinh Ngoc Khanh, Agribank’s chairman, said the preferential rate policy would be applied for medium- and long-term loans, adding the bank’s profit would reduce by billions of đồng due to the cut.
Le Duc Tho, VietinBank’s general director, also estimated the reduction for his bank’s profit was some VND700 billion (US$30 million).
Meanwhile, Vietcombank’s chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh said his bank would apply the rate cut for short-, medium- and long-term loans.
With the cut, the maximum interest rate on short-term loans at Vietcombank would be 6 per cent per year, Thanh said.
Vietcombank’s outstanding loans in the five priority sectors account for more than 30 per cent of the bank’s total loans, Thành said, estimating the rate cut will cause his bank’s profit to reduce by some VND450 billion.
It was hard for the banks to cut the lending interest rate as banks, especially small and medium ones, have to raise their deposit rates significantly to lure depositors to meet the State Bank of Viet Nam’s higher capital requirements and rising capital demands of institutional and individual customers around Tet (Lunar New Year), which will fall on February 5.
At Sacombank, two-month and three-month deposits now enjoy a rate of 5.5 per cent per year, up 0.2-0.3 percentage points. The rates on six-month and 12-month deposits remain high at 7.5 per cent and 7.7 per cent per year, respectively, up from 6.1 per cent and 6.9 per cent.
At VPBank, interest rates increased by 0.1-0.7 percent across the board. The highest interest rate is 8.6 per cent per year for 18-month deposits. The six-month rate is 7.2 per cent per year while deposits from six to 12 months range between 7.7 and 7.8 per cent.
In addition to raising interest rates to attract depositors, many smaller banks are offering promotions. For example, Orient Joint Stock Commercial Bank (OCB) has a double interest rate programme, with deposit rates up to 8.9 per cent per year for 12-month tenors and 8.2 per cent for six-month tenors. At Nam A Joint Stock Commercial Bank (Nam A Bank), the highest deposit interest rate is 8.3 per cent per year for tenor of 18 months or more.
According to experts, the wave of interest rate increases will continue until after Tet.
Military Bank Securities Company (MBS) said pressure from interest rate increases may occur in 2019 but will not be significant as the liquidity of the system is abundant and the SBV limits credit growth at only 14 per cent.
MBS analysts forecast interest rates will likely inch up by 0.1-0.3 percentage points in 2019, adding that the SBV would control money supply and credit growth in order to ensure the Government’s macro-economic stabilisation targets are met.
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