Vietnam seeks Mizuho Bank's expertise

December 19, 2023 | 09:00
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Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has proposed a collaboration with Japan's Mizuho Bank, one of the three mega banks in Japan, for the restructuring of Vietnam's underperforming banks.
Vietnam seeks Mizuho Bank's expertise

The invitation was extended during a meeting with Masahiko Kato, chairman of Mizuho Bank, on December 16 in Tokyo, coinciding with the Prime Minister's attendance at the 50th Anniversary Summit of ASEAN-Japan.

"Vietnam is actively pursuing a comprehensive reform of its banking sector to enhance operational quality and financial system efficiency," said PM Chinh.

He emphasised the nation's openness to participation from foreign financial entities in this reform process. The progress in restructuring weak banks has been gradual and has faced hurdles in attracting investors.

Nguyen Thi Hong, Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam, indicated on November 6 that a detailed restructuring plan for these banks is being prepared for approval.

Five Vietnamese banks, including CBBank, OceanBank, GPBank, DongABank, and SCB, are currently under special regulatory scrutiny, with OceanBank highlighted for immediate restructuring needs.

Additionally, PM Chinh encouraged Mizuho Bank to facilitate the development of a million social housing units aimed at workers and those with lower income levels.

Mizuho boasts significant financial heft, with revenues surpassing $15 billion and total assets above $1.7 trillion.

The bank's Vietnamese operations include branches in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

A landmark transaction in 2011 saw Mizuho acquire a 15 per cent stake in Vietcombank - one of the four state-owned lenders in Vietnam - for over $567 million, thereby becoming a strategic investor.

Parallel discussions with Ishiguro Norihiko, chairman and CEO of the Japan External Trade Organisation, were held by the Prime Minister, seeking counsel on investment attraction strategies in sectors such as green transition, digital transformation, circular economy, and the sharing economy.

Prime Minister Chinh's visit to Japan from December 15-18 for the ASEAN-Japan summit and other bilateral activities was the result of an invitation from Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio.

2023 has marked the golden jubilee of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic ties. The two nations recently upgraded their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Japan is a major economic ally for Vietnam and is number one in official development assistance, second in labour cooperation, third in investment and tourism, and fourth in trade.

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By Luu Huong

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