A number of domestic commercial banks reached their profit and more in 2009 with services becoming their main source of income.

The Vietnam Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Maritime Bank) has announced that its pre-tax profits recorded a year on year rise of 132 percent to 1.08 trillion VND last year while the Saigon Thuong Tin Joint Stock Commercial Bank (Sacombank) earned a pre-tax profit of over 1.9 trillion VND, a year on year increase of 19 percent.

Even small banks, including those that have only been in operation for two years, also made relatively high profits. The Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank saw a 10.5 percent increase in its yearly profits to reach 164.7 billion VND while the Lien Viet Joint Stock Commercial Bank witnessed a 17 percent rise to earn 542 billion VND.

Credits activities, which once accounted for 80 percent of the banks’ main income saw a sharp reduction in 2009 and were replaced with other banking services. Income from credit activities at Sacombank only represented 25.5 percent and at Maritime Bank 25 percent.

The Vietnam Banking Association’s Secretary General Duong Thu Huong said that this development conforms to the banking system’s regulations.

The Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Economics Committee Vu Viet Ngoan said that foreign banks are focusing their attention on tapping into the retail banking service when entering Vietnam .

For his part, the General Director of the Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) Nguyen Duc Vinh emphasised the need to have a complete overview and not to assess the entire banking sector’s operations based on the profits that big banks make as banking is a risky business./.