HCM City (VNA) - The United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) has received preliminary approval from the State Bank of Vietnam to establish a foreign-owned subsidiary bank in the country.

It would become the first Singapore bank to be granted a foreign-owned subsidiary bank licence in Vietnam. 

The announcement was made by the State Bank of Vietnam on March 23 during an official visit to the country by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman and CEO of UOB, said: “We were the first Singapore bank to operate a foreign bank branch in Vietnam in 1995. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Vietnamese authorities and the local financial institutions to contribute to the development and progress of the country, its industry and its people.”

The State Bank of Vietnam has said it will issue an in-principle approval for the foreign-owned subsidiary bank licence by June 2017.

Under the licence, the bank will be able to expand its branch network in the country, thereby enabling UOB to extend financial support and offer best-in-class products and service to consumers and businesses beyond HCM City. 

Cheong said that UOB would assist more Vietnamese enterprises in their domestic growth and expansion plans by connecting them to cross-border opportunities through UOB’s extensive regional network.

In 2013, UOB set up the FDI Advisory Unit in Vietnam, its ninth unit in the region, to offer integrated services to its clients expanding their businesses within the country and across borders.

UOB has also been promoting Vietnam as an investment destination, supporting its regional clients venturing into and expanding within the country.

In 2015, UOB signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency to facilitate trade and investment between Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It was the agency’s first such collaboration with a bank.

Since its incorporation in 1935, UOB has developed a global network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America.-VNA