Despite the current big difficulties, commercial banks still have been implementing their plans to build new offices which cost tens of trillions of dong.
On June 8, SeABank and its partners kicked off the construction of the office building SeABank Tower in district 1 in HCM City. The office building would arise on a 578 square meter land plot, which would comprise of 18 floors, including 12 floors for offices.
Agribank is moving ahead with its plan to build the head office in the Cau Giay new urban area in Hanoi. Having completed the site clearance work and chosen the design contractor, the bank plans to build a new office covering an area of thousands of square meters.
Prior to that, Vietinbank’s board of directors at the shareholders’’ meeting on April 13 presented the plan to build the headquarters in Ciputra new urban area in Tay Ho district of Hanoi. The project, expected to cost VND10,267 bilion dong, would be implemented with the bank’s own capital. This would comprise of two towers, 68 storey and 48 storey ones on a land plot with the area of 30,000 square meters.
Most of the banks say they still don’t have head offices yet, or their existing head offices cannot meet the requirements of the banks’ headquarters.
Vietinbank’s President Pham Huy Hung said the bank’s head office has been on Tran Hung Dao Street over the last 25 years. However, since the office is too small, Vietinbank has to set up its divisions and departments at different places.
Hung has affirmed that the building of the new head office is quite within the bank’s financial capability and its control. It is expected that the construction work would be completed by 2015.
Agribank, whose name shows that it focuses on serving the rural area and agriculture production, also said it still does not have a head office, and the nerve center of the bank has been temporarily located at its staff training center in My Dinh quarter in Hanoi.
Analysts have commented that it seems to be the right time now for banks to build offices when banks don’t have much to do now, as the disbursement has been going very slowly in the context of the economic downturn, when businesses don’t have high demand for bank loans.
A financial analyst in HCM City also said banks have every reason to build offices of their own. This not only allows them to cut the costs on offices, but also help them polish their images in the eyes of clients with the impressive office buildings set up by themselves.
However, the financial expert has also commented that most of the foreign banks have been setting up their offices at rent buildings, but they still can keep high prestige and valuable brands. Meanwhile, clients do not much care if the head offices are possessed by the banks or the rent offices.
The financial expert, therefore, said it’s highly possible that commercial banks, which have profuse capital because the lending has got stuck, have decided to pour money into the projects on building their head offices instead of trying to pump capital into the national economy.
However, the bankers all have denied this, saying that the projects would be implemented with their own money, which is the chartered capital, the funds and the profits.
Under the current regulations, commercial banks and foreign bank branches can use no more than 50 percent of their chartered capital and the funds to buy fixed assets.