Shinhan Financial Group, the biggest financial firm in the Republic of Korea (RoK), has decided to buy up the stakes of the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) in the joint venture Shinhan Vina Bank.

Founded in 1993, Shinhan Vina Bank was originally named First Vina Bank, of which Vietcombank held a 50 percent stake, the Korea First Bank possessed 40 percent, and the Daewoo Securities Company, 10 percent.

In 2001, the Shinhan Financial Group bought up the stakes of the two RoK partners and renamed the bank Shinhan Vina Bank, which boasted total assets of nearly 553 billion KRW (about 500 million USD).

At the same time, the group established a 100 percent foreign-invested bank in Vietnam with total assets of almost 500 billion KRW.

The Shinhan Financial Group is planning to merge the two subsidiary banks after the business deal with Vietcombank./.