The nation’s commercial banks are expecting smooth sailing through the remainder of the year after managing solid first-half profits in the face of the global economic downturn.

With its shares recently listed on the HCM City Stock Exchange, Vietcombank announced superb business results for the first six months of 2009, including profits of 2.45 trillion VND (136.1 million USD) – 74 per cent of the total target for the year.

Maritime Bank has also reported solid first-half earnings, including profits of 473 billion VND. If economic conditions were to remain stable, the bank predicted it would exceed all of its targets for the year.

Sacombank, which is the most-active share on the HCM City stock market, managed profits of 900 billion VND during the six-month period even after deducting funds to set up a provisionary risk management fund.

Eximbank also said it was well on its way to surpassing the half-way mark in its goal for the year of 1.5 trillion VND in profits. A bank executive said profuse capital and low interest rates had helped it develop its credit.

Sai Gon-Ha Noi Bank general director Nguyen Van Le also said his bank would see profits of over 250 billion VND in the first six months, equivalent to 74.4 per cent of the target for the entire year, pointing to the strengthening economy and the role of the Government’s subsidised-interest loan policy in stimulating credit growth.

Despite being newcomers to the market, LienViet Bank and TienPhong Bank were also reporting good business results in the first six months.

LienViet Bank general director Nguyen Duc Huong said that the bank expected to post 340 billion VND in profits in the first half.

TienPhong Bank, meanwhile, estimated profits of 70-73 billion VND, 60 per cent of which would be generated by fees from traditional banking services and the rest from foreign exchange and money market activities.

Most commercial banks showed that interest from loans accounted for roughly 60 per cent on average of their total profits in the first half of the year. According to the State Bank of Viet Nam , total outstanding loans increased 17 per cent year-on-year during the period./.