Eximbank's announcement


Cross-bank ownership: Are the waves rolling?

(Tien Phong) - City - The 2016 bank shareholders' meeting season has ended, except for two famous banks among the joint stock banks that have not yet held their congresses, which are Eximbank and Sacombank. The source of the problem started from the story of the "underground wave" of senior personnel of these two banks, which according to industry insiders - is cross-ownership.

Seat battles
On May 24, Vietnam Export-Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) reorganized its annual general meeting of shareholders (AGM). Because before that, on April 29, Eximbank postponed the organization due to not having enough shareholders with voting rights to attend. It is known that that day, two large groups of shareholders sent letters requesting to restructure the number of members of the Board of Directors, but at the last minute, they unexpectedly did not attend.
After the unsuccessful General Meeting of Shareholders of Eximbank, the story of competing for seats on the Board of Directors (BOD) among shareholder groups spread. At the same time, information appeared that a group of shareholders was secretly buying votes to gain an advantage in the upcoming General Meeting of Shareholders. Meanwhile, the new Eximbank Board of Directors makes it difficult to include these two members in the election list.

On May 21, Mr. Le Minh Quoc, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eximbank (who does not own any shares) said: In mid-March 2016, the group of shareholders led by Ms. Nguyen Thi Xuan Loan, former Chairman of the Board of Directors, Nam A Bank, acting as capital representative for his brother Nguyen Quoc Toan, currently Chairman of Nam A Bank, sent a letter to Eximbank requesting to elect 2 additional members of the Board of Directors.
According to Mr. Quoc, to reconcile the responsibilities between the old Board of Directors and the new term Board of Directors, the new Board of Directors has included in the agenda of the General Meeting of Shareholders the election of additional members at the request of two groups of shareholders. At the same time, report the above to the State Bank (SBV) on April 27, 2016. Mr. Quoc emphasized: "I affirm that the Board of Directors always respects shareholders' opinions, regardless of large or small shareholders. Furthermore, the election of additional members of the Board of Directors must follow the legal process."
At Sacombank, the underground waves are no less. Deeply understanding the source, after the State Bank suddenly announced that Mr. Tram Be authorized all 51% of the shares held at Sacombank and this agency will send a capital representative. It is known that State Bank leaders have met and plan to run for the position of Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sacombank. Sacombank's announcement to postpone the General Meeting of Shareholders, in addition to personnel reasons, may also be related to waiting for transparency in the bank's financial statements and business results.
It's as difficult as eliminating cross-ownership
In the report on the picture of Vietnamese banking in the period 2011-2015, Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Director of the Fullbright Program, sketched a picture of cross-ownership of a number of banks. In the case of Sacombank, Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thanh pointed out the "tricky" throughout the process of acquiring this bank that Mr. Tram Be - Chairman of the Board of Directors of Phuong Nam Bank and the group of major shareholders of Eximbank led and used ( mainly related to lack of transparency in the ownership process as well as cash flow circulation). According to analysts, due to lack of transparency, Mr. Tram Be had to suddenly "authorize" the State Bank to appoint a representative for his shares.
An expert affirmed: Completely eliminating bank cross-ownership is very difficult to achieve. "Circular 36 of the State Bank tried to do that by stipulating that credit institutions cannot own more than 5% of shares of other banks and in fact this regulation is standard," this person said. Considering the story of Eximbank and Sacombank, according to this person, the reason there is still underground waves is because the cross-ownership roots at the two banks are still quite intertwined. "For example, at Eximbank, with a group of shareholders who are trying to sit as members of the Board of Directors, in the end, this is a piece of cake because everyone wants to lead the bank. Importantly, those who sit as members of the Board of Directors Board members must truly represent the voice and legitimate interests of a bank," he said.

Mr. Ngo Thanh Tung, member of the Board of Directors of Eximbank, said: "On May 20, some retired founding shareholders told us that there are currently a number of shareholder groups buying votes for the general meeting in many ways from from persuasion to intimidation. Before this incident, we will ask law enforcement to supervise." Eximbank's shareholders' meeting tomorrow (May 24) is expected to have a lot of drama.

In Circular 36, to prevent cross-ownership, the State Bank stipulates: By February 2016, banks must reduce cross-ownership to a minimum of only 5%. Recently, a number of large banks such as Vietcombank and Vietinbank have announced that they will divest capital from small banks that they have held such as SCB and SaiGonBank. Eximbank is also proposing to the State Bank to divest the capital they hold at Sacombank about more than 7%.


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