July 16, 2024

[Herald Interview] Vietnam's MB Bank bets big on Korea-Vietnam ties

PUBLISHED : July 02, 2024 - 16:44

UPDATED : July 02, 2024 - 16:44

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MB Bank Chairman Luu Trung Thai speaks during an interview with The Korea Herald held at a Seoul hotel on Tuesday. (S-tec System)

Vietnamese state lender MB Bank, also known as Military Commercial Joint Stock, will launch a mobile app for South Korean nationals living in the country in August, recognizing the growing Korean population in Vietnam and related business opportunities.

“Only Korean banks in Vietnam offer specialized service for Koreans for the time being. But from August, MB Bank will offer such tailored service as it sees opportunities in the growing number of Korean nationals and companies in the country,” MB Bank Chairman Luu Trung Thai said at a press interview held in Seoul on Tuesday.

Luu Trung Thai was in Korea as he joined Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s visit to Seoul to deepen the business relationships between the two countries.

“Currently, only Vietnamese users can pay the electricity or water bills through a banking app. But through the new app, Korean nationals will be able to use such service,” he explained.

MB Bank, established in 1994 to support financing for defense companies, currently serves over 20 million clients, both individual and corporate customers. It has over 300 branches across Vietnam and overseas.

The state bank has also joined hands with Lotte Department Store, under Korean retail giant Lotte, which has extensively expanded in Vietnam. Customers can use the bank’s quick response code for payments at Lotte’s department stores in the country.

“The QR code payment market has been showing sharp growth, expanding by around 30 percent every year. Companies can cut down on costs with QR code payment when compared to card transactions,” he said.

The bank further hopes to join hands with Korean commercial lenders to expand the QR code payment system in the country.

“If we connect the upcoming MB Bank app for Koreans with Korean banks, Koreans who are visiting Vietnam would be able to use our QR code system through their bank apps. We are currently searching for partners,” he explained.

It has also partnered with S-tec System, a security solutions provider here. Having signed a memorandum of understanding in November, the two entities expect further cooperation to come this year.

Seeing room for further growth, the Korean and Vietnam governments have pledged to raise bilateral trade volume to $100 billion next year. Luu Trung Thai sees a future in financing small- and medium-sized Korean enterprises in Vietnam, having worked with more than 100 Korean companies through corporate banking.

“Over the years, Korea has been proactively investing in Vietnam. We see more opportunities for the financial market. With more companies investing in Vietnam, there will be more Koreans in the country, meaning MB Bank could expand services for the population,” he said.

By Im Eun-byel (

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