Vietnam's best bank for SMEs 2020: SHB
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Vietnam's best bank for SMEs 2020: SHB

Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank

Nguyen Van Le, CEO, SHB.jpg
Nguyen Van Le, SHB

US retail firm Amazon, in a break from its conquering drive elsewhere, has entered into something of a supporting role to help the development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam. The lion’s share of that assistance will flow through Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank, or SHB.

The plan is for Amazon Global Selling to work with SHB on financing and offering training to help Vietnamese SMEs sell goods across borders. What better leg-up for any SME looking to sell abroad than on Amazon’s platforms?

As SHB’s chief executive Nguyen Van Le sees it: “Vietnam is a country with good potential for cross-border e-commerce development. It has advantages in manufacturing, as well as many young talents, and a strong online community. Amazon Global Selling is a trusted and thriving channel to connect local sellers.”

SHB stresses it has no intention of throttling back on servicing Vietnam’s more traditional SME sector, whether a company is a tech disruptor or an old-economy manufacturer. And with asset growth up 13.1% in 2019, year on year, deposit growth up 15.2%, loan growth up 22.2% and capital growth up 13.5%, there’s clearly plenty of business across the economy.

The Covid-19 era is posing almost too many uncertainties to count. Risks, too. In 2019, SHB’s non-performing loans fell to 1.8% from 2.4% in 2019. In the first quarter of 2020, they ticked up to 2.17%.

Even so, it’s comforting to know that amid the economic fallout complicating Vietnam’s years, an institution like SHB is taking a big swing. For all its successes, Vietnam needs to accelerate the move upmarket to create good jobs for 97 million people. Assistance from one of the world’s top tech names, handled carefully, could make the difference.

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