Banks step up bad debt resolution

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Banks must handle a large amount of bad debts this year. —VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — Some banks are speeding up the recovery of non-performing loans (NPLs) this year despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An Bình Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ABBank) said the bank aimed to reach VNĐ1.3 trillion (US$56.52 million) in pre-tax profit and clear all bad debt kept at Việt Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) this year. It also expected to increase the provision for risky loans this year by 69 per cent against 2019 to some VNĐ837 billion, reported.

Under a State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) policy, the SBV-controlled VAMC agreed to buy bad debts of commercial banks and recover the debts to reduce the bad debt ratio of the entire banking system in 2015. At that time, many banks had to sell bad debts to VAMC so they could take the debts off their balance sheet to have a bad debt ratio of below 3 per cent as required by the central bank.

After buying the bad debts, the VAMC tried to recover the debt, but some debts haven't been settled to date. Banks, therefore, would have to receive the debts from the VAMC in 2020, according to the SBV's policy.

Sài Gòn Thương Tín Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) general director Nguyễn Đức Thạch Diễm said that Sacombank still had NPLs worth more than VNĐ25 trillion at the VAMC, so the bank was trying to handle and recover all the debts.

Diễm said Sacombank aimed to handle VNĐ11 trillion of bad debts this year. As the bank successfully auctioned VNĐ9.7 trillion of debt in the first five months of this year, it expected to meet the target by the end of this year.

However, Sacombank’s representative said the pandemic had hampered the bank’s handling of bad debts.

At Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank), the bank’s bad debt ratio was at 1.62 per cent by the end of 2019 and it is speeding up the settlement of bad debts to soon clear all its bad debts kept at the VAMC.

Eximbank still held VAMC’s special bonds worth about VNĐ3.2 trillion by the end of 2019. With a provision of nearly VNĐ2.1 trillion for the bonds to date, the bank will need an addition of VNĐ1.1 trillion to clear all debts at the VAMC.

Though Eximbank planned to settle all the debts kept at the VAMC this year, the target might be affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a report on impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic released recently, financial database platform FiinPro estimated the ratio of new bad debt arisen in the first quarter this year of 18 banks listed on stock exchanges was 0.23 per cent, increasing from the previous seven quarters and equivalent to the rate of the first quarter of 2018.

By the end of the first quarter this year, the bad debt ratio of the banks was 1.65 per cent, up 1.44 per cent compared to the end of 2019. However, the rise didn’t reflect all the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as the central bank in Q1 issued new regulations on allowing commercial banks to restructure the debts of pandemic-affected borrowers. — VNS

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