CBA to open branch in Vietnam

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23052066-20501,00.html

COMMONWEALTH Bank of Australia is opening its first branch in Vietnam and says it will continue to assess acquisition opportunities in the fast-growing Southeast Asian economy.

CBA said the branch in Ho Chi Minh City, due to open in April, would cater for Australians travelling or sending money to, or doing business in Vietnam.

CBA said there were about 300,000 Vietnamese living in Australia and an increasing number of Australians were visiting the country each year. The bank was confident about Vietnam’s long-term economic growth prospects and would assess opportunities to expand further there.

CBA divested its interest in Vietnam’s Bao Minh CMG Life Insurance Company early last year to focus on banking in Vietnam.

“As a result, we will continue to assess opportunities in the market,” a CBA spokesman said.

The commercial terms of the Boa Minh sale remain confidential.

Vietnam’s gross domestic product grew at 8.5 per cent in 2007 and 7.5 per cent over the past 15 years.

Australia’s largest bank by market value has had a representative office in Hanoi for 13 years.

ANZ is the only Australian bank to expand by acquisition in Vietnam. It has taken 10 per cent stakes in investment bank Saigon Securities and a commercial bank, Sacombank.

CBA closed down 19c at $55.70.

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