Fundraising on the up in consumer finance

March 02, 2021 | 12:07
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Consumer finance companies are taking different approaches to raise cash and gain a bigger slice of the landscape.
1533 p18 fundraising on the up in consumer finance
Black credits, such as from loan sharks, could be reduced significantly by promoting consumer finance, photo Le Toan

SSI Research has cited information from VPBank’s Board of Management that the due diligence process for FE Credit sale has been conducted. FE Credit, Vietnam’s largest consumer finance firm, is in negotiation with its potential partners, though the discussion progress is somewhat interrupted due to the pandemic.

However, VPBank expects the negotiation to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. If the two sides cannot reach a mutual agreement, VPBank would consider an initial public offering (IPO) for FE Credit by the end of this year.

Based on the two scenarios, SSI’s analysis team gave some assessment on the impact of the sale of FE Credit on VPBank’s consolidated financial statements. If VPBank sells a 49-per-cent-stake in FE Credit at a valuation of around four times compared to the book value, the bank can record an after-tax profit of VND21 trillion ($913 million).

According to Vietnamese accounting standards, if VPBank’s control over FE Credit is maintained by holding 51 per cent of stakes, profit from the above capital sale will not be recognised as revenue. Instead, it will be directly recognised in the retained earnings on the bank’s balance sheet.

With an additional $913 million in capital, VPBank will reduce the dependence on customer deposits, thereby reducing the average cost of capital. After the deal is completed, VPBank’s consolidated pre-tax profit is estimated to increase by VND800 billion ($34.8 million) compared to the scenario where there is no capital sale at FE Credit.

In 2020, FE Credit’s pre-tax profwas estimated to reach VND3.713 trillion ($161.43 million), down 16.3 per cent on-year, according to the latest report by VPBank.

Meanwhile, HD Saison – the consumer finance arm of HDBank and Japan’s Credit Saison – was previously greenlit to switch from a limited liability to a joint-stock company format. The firm is reportedly preparing for an upcoming IPO.

Last December, Credit Saison signalled its intention to expand its investment in Southeast Asia, especially Vietnam and Indonesia, with an initial commitment of around $9.6 million for local lenders. Credit Saison will finance such projects as lending to low-income borrowers and microenterprises in a practice known as impact investing.

Elsewhere, SHB Finance is actively promoting the non-cash payment economy by co-operating with MasterCard. By partnering with SHB Finance, MasterCard wants to provide the most up-to-date digitalised user experiences to customers. Simultaneously, the company would bolster access to modest-income earners. Do Quang Hien, chairman of SHB’s Board, also revealed that the consumer finance company is in the middle of negotiations with a foreign partner.

Hoang The Hung, deputy general director of Electricity Finance JSC, said that the company’s consumer loan disbursement balance in the past year reached VND1 trillion ($23 million), which failed to meet its target. The major reason lies in its strict loan disbursement to facilitate a better risk management mechanism.

Elsewhere, foreign-invested consumer finance companies are laying focus on diversifying disbursement loans approaches. New products introduced over the past year are presenting alternative options for a wider swath of both Vietnamese and foreign customers.

For example, Lotte Finance introduces credit cards in cooperation with other foreign banks such as NHB and KB. The firm also boasts several loans such as for cars and learning English with Jaxtina English Center.

Mirae Asset Finance, on the other hand, decided to follow through on a broad diversification strategy. The South Korean company offers cash and electronics loan for education and beauty purposes. The loan package for beauty purposes would capitalise on clients who want to undergo plastic surgery.

Home Credit, meanwhile, is creating new ways for the consumer finance industry by bolstering its insurance business to help customers alleviate the risks of permanent disability or death.

According to the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), by the end of 2020, the scale of Vietnam’s consumer finance market came to around VND1.8 quadrillion (over $77.25 billion), accounting for over 20 per cent of outstanding loans in the economy, up 7.4 per cent compared to the end of 2019.

Dao Minh Tu, Deputy Governor of the SBV, emphasised in a conference in last month that promoting consumer finance and simplifying procedures for loan applications would be placed as top priority to abolish black credit.

In recent years, the SBV and credit institutions in localities have been coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security and local authorities in implementing drastic measures to limit black credit. The SBV will continue improving the awareness of locals about credit policies, loan packages, and procedures for loan applications so that people could easily access bank loans.

Meanwhile, the central bank will study and soon complete legal documents to deploy mobile money services in Vietnam while making loans from microfinance institutions easily accessible to citizens and then gradually limit black credit.

By Luu Huong

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