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‘New Eximbank’ plan in the making
Thanh Thuong
Thursday,  Apr 20, 2017,23:50 (GMT+7)

‘New Eximbank’ plan in the making

Thanh Thuong

HCMC - Eximbank is working on a comprehensive restructuring plan dubbed “New Eximbank” in the hope of returning to its golden days but whether the bank’s leadership can deliver remains a big question mark.

At a press conference held ahead of a general shareholder meeting set for Friday, Eximbank leaders made no mention of the election of board members, a highly contested issue which has dogged the bank in recent years.

Instead, Yutaka Moriwaki, deputy general director of Eximbank, spent nearly two hours talking to the press about the “New Eximbank” restructuring plan.

The Japanese executive touched on the unresolved issues faced by Eximbank such as the lack of a sound business strategy and the weakened morale of staff caused by frequent leadership changes.

Moriwaki noted Eximbank had got pessimistic reviews from the market and that the bank was falling behind other banks of same size.

Eximbank’s profit has been sliding since 2012. In 2011, its after-tax profit was about VND3 trillion but plunged to VND2 trillion in 2012 and a mere VND308 billion last year.

The “New Eximbank” plan, which Moriwaki and Nguyen Quoc Huong, another deputy general director of the bank, are in charge of, is believed to bring significant changes in Eximbank’s business operations.

Moriwaki said the bank would focus on its core operations such as lending to exporters, importers, retailers, and automobile buyers.

He said he is confident that Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), which holds a 15% stake in Eximbank, could help the bank connect with Japanese businesses in Vietnam, and provide financial support and trade finance.

He repeatedly mentioned the recruitment of people for senior positions in charge of a particular task to revamp the bank.

The biggest concern, however, is who would take the helm. The list of candidates for the board of directors has been approved by the central bank.

A source close to the situation said the list, apart from an addition from the central bank, consists of all the incumbent members. Differences among members of the board, which have dragged the bank into crisis in the past, would spell further trouble for the bank if not well solved.

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