Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank is waiting for approval from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to establish a branch in Vietnam. (Source: bangkokpost.com)

 
The number of banks from ASEAN countries is expected to increase in Vietnam in the coming years as the domestic banking market opens following the carrying out of regional integration commitments.

Dau tu (Vietnam Investment Review) reported that Thai, Malaysian and Singaporean banks have been speeding the opening of branch locations in Vietnam.

Further, Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank is waiting for approval from the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to establish a branch in Vietnam.

Siam Chief Executive Officer Arthid Nanthawithaya said the branch is expected to come into operation by the end of this year with capital reserves of 75 million USD.

Another Thai lender, Kasikorn Bank, opened two representative offices in Hanoi and HCM City earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Kasikorn General Director Preedee Dawchi said their presence in Vietnam was meant to offer the bank flexibility in business management as more of customers are eyeing market expansion here.

In March, the SBV approved, in principle, Public Bank Berhad setting up a wholly-Malaysian invested bank in Vietnam, while Malaysia's Maybank already has two branches in Hanoi and HCM City.

Also, United Overseas Bank has been attempting to establish a wholly Singaporean invested bank in Vietnam since 2008, and the Ministry of Finance recently asked the Government to allow their request.

According to Dau tu, ASEAN banks investing in Vietnam have in common their having operated overseas for years, and are seeking to increase revenues in regional markets.

Earnst & Young Vietnam Deputy General Director Nguyen Thuy Duong reportedly said foreign banks are "longing for opportunities to get an official ticket" to enter Vietnam, referring to the country's market opening, in line with regional integration commitments.

The service markets, in general, and banking – finance, in particular, must be opened to a level of at least 70 percent, when the ASEAN Economic Community forms at the end of 2015, and 100 percent by 2020. World Trade Organisation commitments also require the country to fully open its banking sector to foreigners by 2020.-VNA