In the first quarter of this year, the Maritime Commercial Joint stock Bank (MB) reported that although its total assets continued to increase slightly while the total value of loans to customers decreased by 3 per cent, from VND36,212 billion ($1.59 billion) to VND35,101 billion ($1.54 billion).
After a long period of restructuring, MB's total assets increased sharply by nearly 20 per cent to VND112 trillion ($4.91 billion) in 2017.
This is a strange signal in the context that credit in the banking industry, in general, is growing very strong. Maritime Bank reduced loans to sectors involved in construction, commerce, light industry, consumer goods, finance, banking and securities.
In contrast, the bank’s loans to real estate and infrastructure increased abnormally to over VND10 trillion ($441 million), accounting for 29 per cent of total credit oustanding balance by the end of last March. Maritime Bank is one of the banks having the largest proportion in lending in this sector.
In the shareholders' recent annual meeting of the bank, Tran Anh Tuan was again appointed Chairman. Tuan and his wife are involved in TNG Holdings, a multi-sector group which is prominent in the field of commercial real estate and industrial parks.
Having invested in infrastructure industrial parks for long time, VID Group, the predecessor of TNG Holdings, now owns many industrial parks in the north with a total area of about 2,000 hectares. The group leases land in the industrial parks to over 300 enterprises from Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
In the field of commercial real estate, the group’s projects are developed under the TNR Holdings brand including apartments, residential and office buildings.
The point is that many real estate projects developed under the brands of TNR Holdings are invested by clients of Maritime Bank. Typically, Viet Han Trading - Advertising - Construction - Real Estate Co., Ltd is the investor of TNR Goldmark City project.
Since the beginning of 2016, Viet Han has conducted many secured transactions with Maritime Bank. Earlier in 2016, Viet Han used 2,000 apartments under the TNR Goldmark City project as collateral at the bank. Most recently, on April 27, the company pledged 551 apartments which are unsold under the project as collateral at Maritime Bank.
According to an anonymous source, Viet Han is also a shareholder holding tens of millions of Maritime Bank (MSB) shares. In 2017, the company many times used MSB shares as collateral at another bank.
Besides TNR Holdings, it is known that investors of Gold View, Gold Season and Gold Silk projects have conducted secured transactions with the bank.