Australian bank announces sale of retail operation in Vietnam

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ANZ has announced it has entered into an agreement to sell its retail business in Vietnam to Shinhan Bank Vietnam.

In a press release, the ANZ said that its retail business serves 125,000 customers in Việt Nam and includes A$320 million (US$240m) in lending assets and A$800 million in deposits.

"The sale of our retail business is in line with our strategy to simplify the bank and improve capital efficiency".

ANZ has exited another Asian business selling off its Vietnamese retail business to a Korean financial services group.

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"It allows us to focus resources on our largest business in Asia - Institutional Banking - where we are a top four corporate bank supporting regional trade and capital flows".

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Since taking over from long-serving Chief Executive Mike Smith over a year ago, Shayne Elliott has focused on addressing investors' worries about the lower returns and higher costs of ANZ's Asian businesses at a time when banks are facing up to low economic growth, volatility in financial markets and rising credit costs. He said ANZ would maintain a presence in Vietnam to support corporate clients in the Greater Mekong region.

The deal came as ANZ, Australia's third-largest bank, has chose to sell its retail operations in Vietnam to focus on institutional banking in the growing market. The acquisition will increase the total asset of Shinhan Bank's Vietnamese operation to $3 billion, the number of credit card customers to 160,000 and employees to more than 1,300, making it the biggest foreign bank in the country by asset and the number of branches beating London-based HSBC.