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Customers complain of banks’ slow handling of accounts   2010-08-11 - Viet Nam News

Tran Thi Thanh Thanh went to a State-run joint stock bank in Vung Tau earlier this month to transfer VND5 million (US$263) to a relative living in the northern province of Thai Binh Province.

"An employee at the bank told me it would take two days for the money to reach the account of the receiver in Thai Binh. However, [she] did not get it for five days," she said.

Nguyen Man lives in HCM City which boasts a strong banking system but faced a similar problem recently.

He went to a major commercial bank to transfer VND100 million ($5,200) to his parents in the southern An Giang Province.

The bank promised the money would reach Man’s parents’ bank in two days but could not say when his parent could actually get the money.

"Even when your money is in your parents’ account, they may or may not get it immediately," Man said, quoting a bank employee’s saying: "It depends on the local bank."

Hoang Trung, a company accountant whose salary payments to workers are often delayed by banks, said: "When I asked the bank about the delay, the bank blamed it on [my company’s] treasury. But the treasury told me that the bank kept the money for a certain purpose."

In spite of Viet Nam having a clearing system, many banks refuse to make a commitment about when money will be transferred.

The head of a joint-stock bank’s branch in HCM City’s District 9 said it was easier to transfer money within the same bank since inter-bank transfers required more paperwork.

Some bankers attribute the delay in transfers to banks’ limited capabilities.

An Agriculture and Rural Development Bank official said the payment system was still not uniform across the sector. Some banks did not yet make transfers electronically.

Some non-urban branches had yet to link up with the banking system and so could not do electronic money transfer, he said.

A capital source bank employee blamed the delays on another reason: banks’ use of the funds since their cost of credit was high. By using clients’ funds in this manner, they could cut costs, he said.

Tran Dinh Cuong, head of IT at the State Bank of Viet Nam’s HCM City office, said the time taken for money transfers also depended on the availability of funds at a particular branch. Banks often had to borrow from the central bank to tide over liquidity shortfalls.

Whatever the reasons, transferring money in Viet Nam remains a fraught process.

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