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Vietnamese bank appoints foreign executive to head retail operations

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Vietcombank has taken the unusual move of plunging a foreigner into the financial fray.

Vietcombank has appointed a Canadian executive as its new retail banking director in a country that rarely hires foreign execs in its commercial banking sector.

Thomas William Tobin holds an MBA in international finance from MacMaster University. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, having worked as HSBC’s CEO and country head in Vietnam before leading the Hong Kong, Macao and Northeast Asian branches of the U.S.-based financial services corporation Visa Inc.

Vietcombank’s chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh said at a ceremony to announce the appointment that Tobin’s experience and understanding of the Vietnamese and global markets will help Vietcombank become the top retail bank in Vietnam by 2020, Vietnam News Agency reported.

Vietcombank, the country’s third biggest listed bank by assets, said on Monday that its net profit in the third quarter went up 30.9 percent on-year to VND2.15 trillion ($94.6 million), Reuters reported.

The bank’s pre-tax profits in the first nine months hit more than VND12.18 trillion ($536 million), up 14.1 percent against the same period last year.

Its bad debt ratio also fell to 1.13 percent of all loans, according to a source from the bank.

The National Financial Supervisory Commission has reported credit growth of 11.5 percent in the banking system in the first nine months of this year, while profit rose 39 percent to around VND47 trillion (nearly $2.1 billion).

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