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Banks hike deposit rates to meet loan demand   2008-01-23 - Reuters

Banks have been offering higher interest rates on dong deposits in the past two weeks to meet soaring demand for corporate and consumer loans ahead of Tet, bankers said Monday.


“Demand for the dong, especially from the consumer finance and corporate sectors, will continue to be very strong for the next three weeks,” a Hanoi-based banker said, referring to the traditional Lunar New Year which begins February 7.

Another banker in Hanoi said loan demand from car buyers was particularly robust as many consumers buy or upgrade cars ahead of the New Year.

Last year total car sales nearly doubled to more than 80,000 units.

The property boom in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City also contributed to the rise in loan and mortgage demand, bankers said.

An official from Hanoi-based Military Bank said the bank had raised annual rates on its 12-month deposits to 9.24 percent from around 9 percent previously.

HCMC-based Dong A Bank also raised its 12-month rate to 9.48 percent earlier this month while An Binh Bank offered 9.3 percent.

State-controlled banks, including Vietcombank and Vietindebank, however, maintained the rate at a steady 8.28 percent.

Bankers also said the central bank’s move to raise the level of compulsory reserves banks must keep against their deposits in both dollar and dong from next month had forced them to raise rates to get more funds available for lending.

From February, banks must keep the reserves at 11 percent of their dong and dollar deposits of up to 12 months, up from 10 percent now.

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