On 25 June 2015, the State Bank of Vietnam issued Circular No. 07/2015/TT-NHNN on bank guarantee which is considered as one of the most important documents regulating bank guarantee applied to domestic credit organizations, branches of foreign banks for foreign customers. The Circular is to replace the previous one, namely Circular No. 28/2012/TT-NHNN on 03 October 2012 issued by the State Bank of Vietnam on bank guarantee.
illustration photo - source VIR- Le Toan
The Circular No. 07 has formulated a full and basic legal framework on procedures for, and dossiers on activities of bank guarantee of credit organizations and branches of foreign banks.
The Circular is also expected to create a new legal framework to ensure that the international standards on bank guarantee are met as well as to help appropriately synchronize with other relevant laws and to minimize limitations and weaknesses of the current operations on bank guarantee. Furthermore, the Circular is to enhance the effectiveness, safety and smooth operations of bank guarantee activities of credit organizations and branches of foreign banks operating in Vietnam.
The Circular has a number of progressive contents. First of all, it supplements the definition of “symmetry guarantee party” and “guarantee confirming party” in order to specifically regulate those parties, including foreign credit organizations. In addition, the Circular gives the definition of “customer” to determine clearly which party customers are in guarantee relationship. From that, it is easier to calculate guarantee issuing balance, symmetry guarantee, guarantee confirming and as basis for considering conditions and requirements to customers for accepting bank guarantee.
Secondly, the Circular abolishes the provision that required the acceptance by the State Bank of Vietnam in bank guarantee.
Relating to supplying forex services, in order to conform to Circular No. 21/2014/TT-NHNN, Circular No. 07 has amended the relevant content. Accordingly, branches of foreign banks are not allowed to give guarantees in foreign currencies for customers operating overseas, except in case of that customers are guaranteeing party and symmetry guaranteeing party that are overseas credit organizations and guaranteed party doing business in Vietnam.
In real estate business, the Circular has clarified the Law on real estate business and Law on residential housing in terms of bank guarantee that are assigned the authority for detailing to the State Bank. To be more specific, the Circular requires the investor of a real estate project to undertake that the guarantee for selling, leasing future residential houses will be effective at least 30 additional days since the date of the delivery of the houses, basing on the agreement between the investor and customer.
However, Mr. Tran Thai Binh, Lawyer of LNT & Partners, on an article published on Vietnamnet Online Newspaper, believes that many questions are not appropriately answered. For instance, such questions are; whether banks pay penalties for customers, if the housing sales and purchase agreement mentions; Or according to the Circular No. 07, guarantee agreement comes into effect to the time of at least ending 30 days since the date of the delivery of housing, but the customer is still awaiting (or not bewaring), leading to that those 30 days are overdue, then, this customer loses his/her rights for claiming guarantee. Many people say that a period of 30 days is short.
In light of this Circular, there are a number of side-effects arising. Therefore, understanding provisions are necessary to avoid unfavorable consequences in doing business in general.
The Circular will come into effect on 09 August 2015 and replaces the Circular No. 28/2012/TT-NHNN granted on 03 October 2012. Hopefully, after its promulgation, the Circular will establish a solid legal framework for all domestic credit organizations, branches of foreign banks and customers in bank guarantee activities.