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Famous law firm / Central bank eases debt hurdle

Many banks are hoping to offload their bad debts on the new asset management company after the central bank removed a major hurdle to selling their bad debts to the new asset management company, according to analysts.

Customers and Oceanbank staff implement transactions. Many banks are expected to easily offload non-performing loans to the newly established asset management company.

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The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) recently set up the Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) to buy banks bad debts, but there was scepticism about its effectiveness since the VAMC was only expected to buy debts backed by collateral.

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But the central bank has done away with the requirement in a circular that took effect on September 15.

The SBV in fact issued two circulars taking effect yesterday, one containing regulations for VAMC's purchase of debts, and the other on refinancing against bonds the VAMC will issue for the debts.

According to analysts, the circulars are vital since they provide comprehensive guidelines for purchasing and handling distressed debts.

They also spell out the process of selling and buying the debt between VAMC and third partners.

All lenders whose non-performing loans are in excess of 3 per cent have to compulsorily sell the debts to the VAMC. Failure to do so will attract penal measures from the central bank.

The VAMC will buy the debts by issuing interest-free bonds worth their book value.

The banks can then get refinancing from the SBV against the bonds.
The circulars are expected to remove the bottleneck plaguing the economy and help banks clean up their balance sheets and strengthen financial capacity, enabling them to lend again to businesses, the analysts said.

Banking analyst Dr Nguyen Tri Hieu told Dau Tu newspaper that "the two circulars loosen several conditions for selling and buying bad debts."

But settlement of lenders' bad debts through the VAMC relies much on co-operation from the banks, he said.

Truong Thanh Duc, chairman of Basico Law Firm, said: "The old regulation requiring credit institutions to have collateral securing the bad debts forced them institutions to sell ‘good' debts to the VAMC.

"The new circular repeals this regulation, so it will enable the banks to sell their bad debts more easily."

But a deputy director of a commercial bank, who declined to be named, remained sceptical.

He said though several conditions for selling the debts have been loosened, it is still not easy for the banks to sell them or for the VAMC to buy them.

Hieu pointed out: "Many banks will hesitate to sell their debts to the VAMC because they are afraid their prestige will be affected."


SBV Governor Nguyen Van Binh said this year the VAMC would only be able to buy bad debts worth VND30 trillion (US$1.42 billion) against a target of VND70 trillion.

Hieu agreed with this, saying the number was achievable.

But the VAMC would only buy the debts this year and be able to sell or recover them next year.

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Businessman accuses Binh Duong Chair of breaking rules

- On October 21, Huynh Uy Dung – the owner of Binh Duong-based Dai Nam Tourist Site lodged accusations against Mr. Le Thanh Cung, Chairman of Binh Duong to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and competent bodies of violating the law related to the approval of the 1/500 detailed planning of the Song Than 3 Industrial Park.

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Huynh Uy Dung – the owner of Binh Duong-based Dai Nam Tourist Site, a famous businessman.

According to Dung’s denunciations, in 2004 Binh Duong faced debt of VND1 trillion of the Ministry of Finance.

"According to the proposal and encouragement of the provincial officials at that time, I had to borrow huge capital from several banks to buy the province’s land in the Binh Duong Industry - Services - Urban Development Complex. Initially, everything went fast and smooth as the province's call. However, since Mr. Le Thanh Cung (Thuan An District’s Party Secretary) was appointed Vice Chair of Binh Duong People's Committee and Chief Manager of the Vietnam - Singapore IZ Management Board, the Dai Nam Joint Stock Company has faced a lot of difficulties," Dung denounced.

It has been seven years since the investor of the Song Than 3 Industrial Park submitted the 1/500 detailed plan to the competent authorities for consideration and approval, but Binh Duong province has not approved it although the investor has met all the requirements set by the authorities.

According to Dan Viet online newspaper, its reporter registered to meet with Cung on the case on October 21 but Cung was absent. Dan Tri met with Mr. Vo Van Luong - Deputy Chief of the Binh Duong People's Committee Office, who said that nobody had submitted that detailed plan to the local government. Luong then promised to report to Cung and would have an answer to the press as soon as possible.

However, according to Dan Viet’s investigation, since 2006, the investor of Song Than 3 Industrial Park has several times asked the Binh Duong province and related agencies to approve the 1/500 detailed planning of Song Than 3. The Binh Duong Department of Construction and the Binh Duong IZs Management Board have also repeatedly sent written petitions to the People's Committee on this issue.

In an interview with Nong Thon Ngay Nay Newspaper, Dung confirmed to have sufficient evidence for Cung’s violation.

“In 2004, I decided to purchase 533.84 hectares of land in the Binh Duong Industry - Services - Urban Development Complex. At that time, the province had to pay VND1 trillion debt to the Ministry of Finance, so they asked me to buy that land to ‘save’ the province’s prestige. At that time, I was building the Dai Nam Tourist Site so my financial situation was quite difficult. Therefore, I had to mortgage all of my assets to borrow capital from banks to buy that land, in order to help the province,” Dung said in the interview.

Dung told Nong Than Ngay Nay that he did not want to buy that land, but to help Binh Duong, he had to buy it. “With an area of 533ha, I planed to build the Song Than 3 Industrial Park. About 61ha was divided into small pieces to sell to Dai Nam’s employees because at that time I had over 2,000 workers and most of them lived in hired rooms. I sold the land for them at