A client makes transaction at the Agribank in Hanoi. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Credit in the first five months of 2016 grew 5.48 percent compared to the end of 2015, the highest for the past few years, according to the State Bank of Vietnam’s Credit Department.

Compared with the same period last year, the credit surged 17.59 percent.

Given this increase, experts expect the banking industry to meet the 18 percent credit growth target this year.

General Director of Vietinbank Le Duc Tho said that lending growth in his bank, targeted at 18 percent this year by the central bank, has been good so far, reaching 6 percent by the end of May. Lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was the best.

Many new SMEs have been set up and the economy has improved, helping boost the firms’ capital needs, he said.

Tho believes Vietinbank could meet the lending quota set by the central bank as it often rises sharply in Q3 and Q4. However, Tho said, depending on market demands, the bank could adjust the target after making a proposal to the central bank.

Tran Van Tan, Head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Credit Division, said the credit growth was made possible by the robust health of SMEs and their access to credit.

While still requiring commercial banks to support businesses, the central bank has recently directed that monetary policies give top priority to ensuring the safety of the banking system and controlling inflation.

"Credit institutions must balance their capital mobilisation sources and lending to ensure liquidity. Credit growth rates must be controlled in accordance with capital mobilisation and lending quotas allocated by the central bank to ensure safe credit growth and to help businesses with easier access to credit," according to the central bank.

The central bank also asked commercial banks to be more careful with lending to industries that have witnessed high growth and high potential risks, such as real estate, Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) and Build-Transfer (BT) projects.-VNA