Agribank Joins Hands to Cushion Covid-19 Shocks, Revive Socio-economic Development

9:44:14 AM | 1/7/2020

Recently, the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank) has actively joined hands with the banking industry to carry out many social security programs, many credit support policies, and various solutions to realize the dual goal of “repelling the epidemic and reviving socio-economic development”. Our reporter has an interview with Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong, Deputy General Director of Agribank, on this issue. Nguyet Tham reports.

What are your efforts to curb the Covid-19 pandemic and join with the Government to revive the economy?

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted and halted many socio-economic activities, negatively affecting Vietnam’s economy. As directed by the Government and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), we have proactively and seriously carried out consistent, aggressive and effective measures to support customers affected by the pandemic. By the end of May 2020, we carried out solutions worth US$41,908 billion under Circular 01/2020/TT-NHNN, including VND35,650 billion to restructure loans to 9,155 customers and VND6,258 billion to exempt and reduce interests for 953 customers. In addition, we have made new loans of VND42 trillion to 16,000 customers adversely affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and lowered interest rates for 54,000 customers with outstanding loans of nearly VND40 trillion. At the same time, in order to share difficulties with customers, we have four times exempted and reduced service fees for customers amid the pandemic outbreak to ease their burdens to cope with the contagion.

In addition, the whole Agribank system has actively implemented many social security activities with a budget of tens of billions of VND, showing the spirit of solidarity, joining hands with the community to overcome difficulties in the fight against the pandemic.

For the support policies to be effective, what strategies and solutions have you taken?

Like other enterprises, banks have been also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the context of a complicated pandemic outbreak, we have built detailed scenarios to ensure smooth banking operations in all circumstances, maintain and stabilize the operation of 2,300 ATMs and electronic banking services to meet people’s banking demands.

Right since the Covid-19 pandemic started to hurt socio-economic activities, we have actively worked with affected customers to promptly apply support measures, publicize contact hotlines at all branches to receive customer feedback and support them to cope with emerging hardships. We determined that this is an important and urgent task that the Government and the State Bank of Vietnam have assigned commercial banks. Therefore, we have strived to streamline administrative procedures, provided the most favorable conditions for people and businesses to access capital for recovering, stabilizing and developing production and business activities while not relaxing or lowering financing conditions and ensuring its support policies reach the right persons in time and ensure operational safety.

Could you please tell us your experience and solutions for businesses in general and Agribank in particular to stay immune from the Covid-19 pandemic?

According to many economic experts, the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is considered a resilience test for companies. To overcome the crisis and deal with the "double" effect of the pandemic, many businesses have proved their resilience by weighing up adaptive solutions and other business alternatives.

In addition to Government supports, businesses have proactively strived to seek solutions to overcome hardships and improve their “health” with effective solutions like reorganizing production activities, restructuring the market, developing the domestic market, diversifying input sources, improving the processing content and increasing value-added products, boosting trade promotion, bringing Vietnamese products to major supermarket chains, and tapping the potential domestic market of nearly 100 million people.

Agribank itself is also an enterprise engaged in finance and monetary industry and it was also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Agribank and the banking industry have firmly carried out many solutions to execute Circular 01/2020/TT-NHNN on restructuring debt repayment terms, exempting and lowering interest rates, and effectively supporting troubled people and hard-hit businesses to maintain trust of the community and affirm our key role in agriculture, rural development and the whole economy.

We have sought to enhance our resilience by constantly improving financial capacity, governance quality, credit quality and bad debt handling, while promoting our internal strength, fostering the system-wide determination for successful equitization under the direction of the Government, and turning challenges into opportunities. In this journey, in addition to the support of the Party, the Government, the State Bank, and central and local agencies, we still need more support from the community, the media and law enforcement agencies. Agribank wants to have the support as soon as possible to expand loans to agricultural development and rural farmers, while ensuring the system safety imposed by the SBV: Increasing the registered capital. Whether this wish of Agribank will come true depends on the support and assistance of the Government and the National Assembly.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum