In 2021, despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Agribank Long An managed to fulfill the dual goal of ensuring effective, safe and smooth business and preventing the pandemic, supporting customers affected by the pandemic and natural disasters, and promoting the local economy. This success has helped Agribank Long An reaffirm its leadership in the banking industry and play a key role in local agricultural and rural development investment.
Last year, Agribank Long An raised deposits of VND15,446 billion, an increase of VND1,700 billion over 2020, equal to 161% of the target. Its outstanding loans reached VND22,931 billion, VND3,830 billion more than in 2020 and 11% higher than the plan. Its total corporate outstanding loans valued VND3,830 billion, VND1,054 billion more than in 2020 and 175% higher than the plan. Its service revenue was VND72.931 billion, VND15.943 billion higher than that in 2020 and 28% higher than the plan. Its bad debt ratio was 0.2%, lower than the goal of 0.97% assigned by the central government. With the shrewd leadership of the Board of Executives and the consensus of all employees, Agribank Long An continued to successfully complete all five business targets and was honored with the “Best of Agribank in 2021” Award and the “Best Financial Performance Award 2021” by the Chairman of Agribank’s Board of Directors. Particularly, Agribank Dong Duc Hoa Long An Branch was also honored to receive the “Best Second-class Branch in 2021” Award. Leading the Agribank system in two consecutive years in business performance is a testament to the willpower, determination and unremitting efforts of Agribank Long An on the socioeconomic development path.
Given the fourth complicated outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in southern provinces and cities, strictly adhering to directions of the Government and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), Agribank Long An promptly launched consistent solutions to support customers affected by the pandemic in various forms, helped customers overcome difficulties, restore production and business, and created a driving force for economic growth. From July 15, 2021 to December 31, 2021, the branch reduced interest rates by 10% for existing loans and by at most 10% for new loans till December 31, 2021. The total amount of interest exemption and reduction amounted to more than VND112 billion, benefitting over 76,000 customers, while interest rates were slashed on as much as VND32,000 of loans.
Simultaneously, the branch strictly rescheduled debt repayment terms, exempted and reduced interest, and kept debt categories unchanged in accordance with Circular 01 and other regulations of the State Bank of Vietnam; provided new preferential loans, lowered lending rates, and assisted local socioeconomic development. In 2021, loans for prioritized agricultural and rural borrowers (as per Circular 39/2016/TT-NHNN) amounted at VND21,426 billion (accounting for 93% of total loans in 2021) and loans to small and medium enterprises at VND 3,830 billion (accounting for 16% of total loans)
To maintain credit growth in a volatile economy, Agribank Long An always strived to surmount difficulties, cut costs and accepted making less profit to support businesses and the economy to recover soon. To join forces with the locality to carry out intensive solutions to support customers, based on the leadership of the SBV and Agribank, Agribank Long An has launched many concessional credit packages since 2020, thus providing better financial assistance for people and enterprises to revive and develop business operations and achieving the “dual goal” initiated by the Government. The branch also accelerated review and assessment of damage incurred by each customer to apply repayment rescheduling measures, exempt or reduce interest, and keep the debt category unchanged; aligned credit growth with credit quality control, strictly controlled credit risks in potentially risky sectors, and ensured operational safety. It focused on allocating capital to manufacturing, trading and priority fields; and implemented solutions to clear hindrances against access to bank credit for businesses and people.
Carrying out the SBV’s directions on support solutions for borrowers affected by the pandemic, from June 16, 2021, Agribank Long An doubled its preferential credit package of VND200,000 billion for them. Interest rates were 5.5 - 7% on short-term dong loans, 7 - 8% on medium and long-term dong loans and 2.5 - 2.8% on USD loans (all loans were short-term). Agribank launched a preferential credit package of VND35,000 billion for big corporate customers (VND15,000 billion for short-term loans and VND20,000 billion for medium and long-term loans) and another preferential credit package of VND30,000 billion for all maturity terms. In addition, it continued to simplify loan procedures while ensuring loan safety and regulatory compliance; improved evaluation competence to reduce the time needed to settle loans and facilitate customers to access credit. With its preferential credit packages for corporate customers, Agribank Long An showed its determination to assist local economic development. Even in difficult circumstances, the branch was always ready to lend to customers with softer interest rates to help them overcome difficulties and restore manufacturing and business activity.
In addition to considerable rate reductions, Agribank Long An adopted free domestic money transfers; modernized banking technology and actively carried out measures to develop non-cash payment and open online accounts on E-Mobile Banking applications to facilitate customers to transact with the least physical contact amid the pandemic. Mr. Nguyen Kim Thai, Director of Agribank Long An, said that Agribank is one of the first banks to use eKYC (electronic Know Your Customer) technology for application logging in a new device for account security reasons. With the eKYC solution, customers have an extra layer of account security besides OTP verification, thus limiting fraud and risk. “The introduction of facial authentication on the Agribank E-Mobile Banking application is proof that Agribank, including Agribank Long An, is constantly reforming, improving service quality, and applying modern technology for better performance. We will continue to expand and apply eKYC solutions in many other products and services to ensure the security of customers' transactions," he added.
What was achieved in 2021 will be a solid foundation for its employees to work harder in 2022 to successfully complete all assigned tasks; constantly uphold the spirit of solidarity and innovation; couple business with pandemic prevention; assist local economic recovery in new circumstances; motivate economic growth, economic development and social security. In this important year, Agribank Long An will continue to have preferential loans for SMEs and FDI firms to enhance operational efficiency in the new normal; and prioritize the province's potential fields such as real estate, agriculture and rural development. Besides preferential credit programs, the branch will concentrate on providing a variety of convenient products and services, effectively serving all customer needs like deposit, investment, foreign currency trading, insurance, domestic and international payment and digital banking services.
By Cong Luan, Vietnam Business Forum