Commercial banks tighten real estate lending

Some banks have temporarily stopped providing loans to the real estate sector in the short term in the wake of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)'s policy on controlling credit growth in risky areas.

Sacombank has recently required all its branches and transaction offices to focus loans on a number of production and priority industries such as agriculture, rural development, exports, supporting production, small- and medium-sized enterprises, high-tech application, trade, service and logistics, vietnambiz.vn reported.

In particular, Sacombank has directed the branches and offices not to fund the real estate sector until the end of June, except for the bank’s staff and relatives to buy, build or repair houses for living purposes.

Techcombank has recently also notified its business units about controlling the disbursement limit for loans to buy real estate products. The bank said it would suspend the provision of real estate loans from March 25, 2022 and would consider the disbursement in the second quarter.

The banks said their move was aimed to ensure compliance with the SBV’s regulations on controlling credit growth.

Besides, the credit growth quota of the banks set aside for the real estate sector capped the banks’ plans.

The reopening of the economy after a long period of social distancing to control the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed up credit demand in the first months of this year. According to the latest data from the General Statistics Office (GSO), as of March 25, credit growth of the whole economy hit 4.03%, the highest growth rate in the past five years.

In January alone, credit growth hit a ten-year high as it surged 1.9% compared to the end of 2021.

In the latest strategy of the banking industry, the SBV said credit must be channeled to production and business industries with positive impacts on socio-economic development. It has also urged banks to refrain from providing credit to businesses operating in risky areas, such as real estate, securities, corporate bonds, or build-operate-transfer (BOT) and build-transfer (BT) transport projects.

According to expert Can Van Luc, data from the SBV showed the growth rate of real estate loans has tended to slow in recent years, from 26% in 2018 to 12% in 2020.

Despite the pandemic, credit to real estate in 2021 still increased by 12% compared to the previous year, of which loans for home purchase and repairs rose by about 15-16% and loans for real estate trading were up 6-7%.

It is expected real estate credit growth would be 9-10% this year, Luc forecast.