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UOB grows regional footprint with Vietnam subsidiary and Asean digital bank

Goola Warden
Goola Warden8/13/2018 07:30 AM GMT+08  • 8 min read
UOB grows regional footprint with  Vietnam subsidiary and Asean digital bank
SINGAPORE (August  13): United Overseas Bank, often viewed as the most conservative of the local banks, has made two announcements since the beginning of this month. Both of them are aimed at extending its regional reach. On Aug 3, it announced a digital
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SINGAPORE (August 13): United Overseas Bank, often viewed as the most conservative of the local banks, has made two announcements since the beginning of this month. Both of them are aimed at extending its regional reach. On Aug 3, it announced a digital bank for Asean’s large and increasing base of mobile-first and mobile-only customers. UOB’s digital bank will be deployed in five countries — Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. The plan is for the digital bank to garner three million to five million customers from the region in the next five years.

Then on Aug 6, UOB said it had incorporated United Overseas Bank (Vietnam), its fully-owned subsidiary in the country. UOB is the first Singapore bank to open a foreign-owned subsidiary bank (FOSB) in Vietnam. In July 2017, UOB announced it had received an in-principle FOSB licence from the State Bank of Vietnam.

The FOSB licence enables the bank to extend its branch network beyond Ho Chi Minh City and to offer its products and financial solutions to businesses and consumers in other cities. The bank is planning to open a branch in Hanoi, the political capital and Vietnam’s gateway to fast-developing cities in the north such as Hai Phong, Quang Ninh and Hai Duong. “We also plan to open a wealth management centre and to launch a digital bank targeting the young. So far, the traction seems to be quite good,” says Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman and CEO of UOB during a results briefing on Aug 3. Wee’s family is the bank’s largest shareholder.

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