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Far East Bank to Open in Vietnam

June 22, 2004|E. Scott Reckard | Times Staff Writer

Vietnam's central bank has licensed Far East National Bank to open a branch in Ho Chi Minh City, making Los Angeles-based Far East the third U.S. banking company after Citigroup Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. with a full-service office in Vietnam.

Far East, a subsidiary of the Taiwanese financial firm SinoPac Holdings, was approved to operate in Vietnam for 20 years effective May 20, a central bank official said. Far East already has 15 California offices plus facilities in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei.

The need for banking services surged after Vietnam's 2001 bilateral trade agreement with the United States. Trade volume between the two nations jumped from $1.7 billion in 2001 to $5.7 billion last year, making the United States the largest trading partner of Vietnam.

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