Vietnam’s banks have progressively built up their balance sheets, but profitability remains a challenge. Joy Macknight reports. 

Vietnamese banks have done well over the past five years to strengthen their balance sheets, with three of the top five more than doubling their total assets between 2012 and 2017. For example, the biggest lender by assets, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), increased its assets by 108.3%, while fourth-placed Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) grew by 109.8% and fifth-placed Saigon Commercial Bank by 133.1%.

All five banks saw double-digit growth in assets year on year in 2017, with Vietcombank experiencing the biggest rise of 29.8%. In its ‘2019 outlook: Asia-Pacific emerging market banks’ report, Fitch Ratings says it expects the banking sector’s stable outlook to remain due to Vietnam’s strong economic growth. “Nevertheless, keener competition for deposits and negative knock-on effects from the US-China ‘Trade War’ pose downside risks,” warns the report.

The top banks’ profitability, as measured by return on assets (ROA), shows mixed results. In 2017, only two banks – VietinBank and Vietcombank – recorded ROAs above the regional average of 0.82%, at 0.84% and 1.1% respectively, and both have seen a decline in profitability over the past five years. Likewise, BIDV experienced a decrease in ROA from 0.96% in 2013 to 0.72% in 2017.

All data sourced from

data trends 181218


All fields are mandatory

The Banker is a service from the Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd takes your privacy seriously.

Choose how you want us to contact you.

Invites and Offers from The Banker

Receive exclusive personalised event invitations, carefully curated offers and promotions from The Banker

For more information about how we use your data, please refer to our privacy and cookie policies.

Terms and conditions

Top 1000 2023

Request a demonstration to The Banker Database

Join our community

The Banker on Twitter