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Banking services bring huge profits

27-05-2018 23:59

Robot Trading

A man withdraws cash from an ATM in HCMC. Multiple banks have made trillions of Vietnam dong in profi t each from their services - PHOTO: UYEN VIEN

HCMC – Multiple banks made trillions of Vietnam dong in profit each from their services last year and in the first quarter of this year, according to a news report in Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper.

According to a first quarter financial report of the Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank), revenue from its banking services amounted to nearly VND1.6 trillion (US$70.3 million), up 30% over the year-ago period. Last year, the bank made around VND5.4 trillion in revenue and VND2.5 trillion in profit from its services, up over 20% against the previous year.

Other banks such as the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), the Vietnam Bank for Industry and Trade (VietinBank), the Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank (Sacombank) and the Technological and Commercial Bank of Vietnam (Techcombank) also earned more than VND1 trillion each from banking services.

Sacombank’s 2017 profit from its banking services amounted to more than VND2.6 trillion. In January-March this year, it made VND752 billion in revenue from services. After all expenses were deducted, its profit in the period was VND544 billion, a 30.3% year-on-year leap.

VietinBank and Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) recently hiked its transaction fees for ATM services. Particularly, the bank revised up its ATM fee to VND2,200 per transaction, including VAT, for debit cards and VND1,650 for C-Cards and S-Cards from the previous VND1,100.

The bank no longer offers a fee exemption for money transfers between the holders of accounts opened at the bank but VND3,300 is charged on each same-bank transaction.

VietinBank has also imposed a monthly fee of VND2,200 on account management. The fee has also been collected by Vietcombank since March.

Vietcombank on May 8 announced on its website an ATM fee hike. Accordingly, the ATM cash withdrawal fee is up by VND500 to VND1,650 per transaction.

However, when the hike will take effect is unknown but the bank has removed the fee hike announcement from its website.

In addition to the ATM cash withdrawal fee, Agribank has revised up the fee for inter-bank transactions to at least VND8,000.

According to data of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), there are some 132 million cards, mainly ATM ones, 17,550 ATM machines and 268,800 points of sale (POS) terminals in the banking system.

Vietcombank, Agribank, VietinBank and BIDV make up a huge proportion of the cards, so their fee adjustments will affect numerous customers. As a result, card holders have complained about the banking service fee hikes.

Banks have repeatedly said they have not recovered capital spent on their ATM systems as most transactions with ATMs are cash withdrawals.

According to banking experts, commercial banks are trying to increase earnings from retail and individual customers.

Huynh Trung Minh, a financial expert, was quoted by Nguoi Lao Dong as saying that banks’ revenues from services are considerable and account for increasingly large proportions.

Banks have invested heavily in ATM systems but few banks have incurred losses from ATM services, Minh added.

Commercial banks said they often pay an ATM maintenance fee of VND7,000-10,000 for each transaction, but economic experts have objected to this point, saying their ATM systems have helped them promote brands and products, attract new customers and push for other banking products and services.

Given widespread customer complaints, the central bank on May 9 told commercial banks to stop hiking ATM cash withdrawal fees.

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