Shinhan, Hana boost operations in Vietnam

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Shinhan, Hana boost operations in Vietnam

Leading Korean banks are increasing their presence in Vietnam, one of the fastest growing markets in Asia, after the two countries signed a bilateral free trade agreement Tuesday.

Shinhan Bank, the country’s No.1 financial institution by assets, said Thursday it had opened its 12th branch in Hai Phong, the largest port city in Vietnam, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Hanoi.

CEO Cho Yong-byoung attended the opening ceremony.

“Shinhan will not only deliver corporate financing services here, but also try to be successful in the retail banking business,” said Cho. “Vietnamese customers will experience differentiated banking services based on Korea’s cutting-edge IT capabilities, through mobile banking and smartphone applications.”

Shinhan Vietnam Bank was approved in November to open four branches.

The bank plans to open branches in Thai Nguyen and Pham Hung by next month, which will give it a total of 14 in Vietnam.

Hana Bank, the third-largest bank in Korea, said its office in Ho Chi Minh City has been approved to become a branch. Hana Bank entered Vietnam in 2007.

Due to the Vietnamese government’s restructuring of the banking industry in 2011, the establishment of new foreign banks was halted temporarily.

The opening of Shinhan’s branch in Hai Phong marks the resumption of foreign operations.

Hana plans to cooperate with Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) branch in Hanoi, which began operations in 1999, in order to compete with Shinhan in the Vietnamese market.

“We will actively support both Korean and Vietnamese businesses operating here and in Korea,” said Kim Byoung-ho, CEO of Hana Bank, at a ceremony held in the city Thursday.

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