Bangkok (VNA) – The Vietnamese branch of Bangkok Bank has sought permission from the State Bank of Vietnam to increase lending growth cap after its lending expansion during the first half of 2018 neared the 15-percent annual limit.

The branch’s loan growth is likely to reach 30 percent this year after 13 percent growth in the first six half, the Bangkok Post quoted Tharabodee Serng-Adichaiwit, senior vice-president and general manager of the bank’s Vietnamese operations, as saying.

The State Bank of Vietnam started capping loan growth for both local and foreign financial institutions at 15 percent annually from last year as part of efforts to keep a lid on inflation and exchange rate and maintain the interest rate at a low level to propel economic growth, the news outlet said.

However, financial institutions can request to raise loan growth limits and the regulator will determine this on a case-by-case basis.

The Bangkok Post reported that Vietnam delivered strong economic growth of 7.08 percent year-on-year in the first half, compared with a full-year growth projection of 6.8percent. Inflation was at 3.29 percent, below the central bank's 4-percent target for this year.

Most of the loans were taken out from the Bangkok Bank branch in Vietnam by businesses in the sectors of energy, agriculture, manufacturing, food and garment.

Thai customers, representing 47 percent of the total loan portfolio, were the biggest growth contributor, followed by multinational companies at 43 percent and local clients who made up the rest.

The bank expects local clients, particularly large companies, will account for 50 percent of the loan portfolio in the next 5 – 10 years, in line with positive domestic consumption and investment growth. –VNA