Woori Bank, South Korea’s largest bank by consolidated assets, is waiting for a license from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Southeast Asian country by the end of next month, a bank official was quoted by Reuters as saying.
This is part of the lender’ plan to expand its foothold in the country where South Korea is the biggest investor, with major investments made by Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Kumho Construction, Posco and Lotte.
Vietnam and South Korea last December enacted a bilateral free trade agreement, giving a boost to investment and trade flows between the two countries.
Woori Bank currently has two branches in Vietnam, one in Hanoi and the other in Ho Chi Minh City. Once licensed, Woori Bank’s Vietnam unit will become the seventh wholly foreign-invested in Vietnam.
The five operational foreign banks in Vietnam include ANZ Bank
Vietnam, Hong Leong
Bank Vietnam, HSBC Vietnam, Shinhan Bank Vietnam, and Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam). HSBC Vietnam is the largest overseas bank in the country with a registered capital of $334.6 million.
The Vietnamese central in March licensed Malaysia’s Public Bank Berhad to set up a wholly-owned bank in Vietnam after the Malaysian bank acquired the 50% stake in a joint venture with Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).
Citibank in July last year won in-principle approval from SBV to form a unit in Vietnam during the visit of Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam to the U.S.