UOB is poised to become the tenth wholly foreign-owned bank in Vietnam. Photo: businesstimes.com.sg
The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the country’s central bank, has granted in-principle approval for Singapore-based United Overseas Bank (UOB) to establish a fully foreign-owned bank in Vietnam as bilateral economic relations have prospered.
The approval was announced at a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong, who started a four-day visit to Vietnam on March 21.
This is a major step forward by the Vietnamese government in creating advantages for the Singaporean bank to approach Vietnam’s financial market and improve its financial services in the country, PM Lee said at the press meeting after holding official talks.
UOB has become the tenth foreign bank to open a wholly-owned subsidiary in Vietnam. It is still subject to final approval before being able to provide full services in Vietnam.
Singapore has emerged as the third largest investor in Vietnam, but does not yet have a fully-owned bank in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment in mid-2015 urged the government to instruct SBV to issue a license for UOB to operate a wholly foreign-owned bank in the country.
Vietnam is now home to five 100% foreign-owned operational banks including ANZ
Bank Vietnam, Hong Leong
Bank Vietnam, HSBC
Vietnam, Shinhan Bank Vietnam, and Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam).
Other four banks namely Citibank, CIMB, Public Bank Berhad and Woori Bank have already won initial approval to set up a unit in Vietnam.