The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) and the Ministry of Industry and Trade have affirmed that they have not licensed Zalo Bank to provide online built-in financial services.
Advertising messages such as “Get loans at home, spend lavishly” and “Interest rates reduced by 1-2 per cent for new loan application”, which have been sent to Zalo users by Zalo Bank developed by VNG Joint Stock Company, have raised doubts over the authenticity and legality of the application.
On its website, Zalo Bank said it acts as an intermediary between users and banks or credit organisations.
Customers’ electronic documents would be sent to Zalo Bank’s partner banks if users want to access a loan. The loans are disbursed to customers within 15-30 minutes.
Through Zalo Bank, customers can get loans of up to VNĐ500 million (US$21,515) for five years, with interest rates of 1.5 per cent per month or 18 per cent a year.
In addition, Zalo Bank allows users to access loans very easily, they just need to prove a stable source of monthly income, without mortgage of assets or confirmation of local authorities, which usually are requirements that individuals must meet when they want to borrow money from banks.
The central bank said they did not license the so-called Zalo Bank, meaning that this application was not licensed for lending and raising capital to provide financial services on online platforms.
In line with SBV’s regulations, any credit institution that wants to provide bank-related services must be licensed by the central bank. Its operations become illegal if it fails to get a licence.
It added that the emergence and rapid development of fintech firms have made it difficult for management agencies to monitor their operations due to high risks of money laundering and terrorism financing or risks related to the security and safety of personal data.
The MoIT on Wednesday also said Zalo Bank is under the credit sector that does not belong to their operation.
Đặng Hoàng Hải, director of the ministry’s E-commerce and Digital Economy Agency (iDEA), said they manage e-commerce trading floors and applications.
Currently, four credit institutions, including Shinhan, Easy Credit, Shinhan Finance and FE Credit, are co-operating with Zalo Bank.
This article was originally published in VNS