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Author:Baxter, R. Ashle 

Periodic Essay
Banking reform in Vietnam
Vietnams banking sector is expected to have one of the highest growth rates in Asia during the next few years due to the countrys continued economic expansion, rising household incomes, and relatively low penetration of existing banking services. Over the past two decades, the Vietnamese government has undertaken a series of reforms to strengthen and modernize the sector as part of the countrys move towards a more open and marketoriented economy. Many of these reforms have also been motivated by Vietnams growing participation in international agreements and ongoing efforts to adopt international standards such as the Basel capital framework. Key reforms include a restructuring of the banking system, a gradual opening to foreign investment, the partial privatization of state-owned banking institutions, and measures to strengthen the capitalization of Vietnamese banks. This Asia Focus report provides an overview of Vietnams banking sector, reviews significant developments since the mid 1980s, and highlights key challenges to reform implementation.
AUTHORS: Ho, Anne; Baxter, R. Ashle
DATE: 2011

Periodic Essay
Japan's cross-shareholding legacy: the financial impact on banks
Japanese banks' financial results for the Fiscal Year Ending (FYE) March 2009 marked their worst performance in recent years. Although soaring loan loss charges contributed to the banks' weak performances, losses on equity securities were also a key driver. These losses have drawn renewed attention to the practice of Japanese banks owning stock in the companies to which they lend through so-called cross-shareholdings, and the market risk resulting from these holdings. This Asia Focus provides a brief background on the development of cross-shareholding. The report also examines some of the problems associated with shareholdings and considers measures that banks and the government have taken to unwind these shareholdings.
AUTHORS: Baxter, R. Ashle
DATE: 2009

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