The Hanoi Times – Commercial banks plan to slow the growth of credit through the remainder of the year following significant increases in the first half, driven largely by the impact of the Government’s subsidised interest-rate loan programme. Banks have so far lent more than VND372 trillion (US$20.9 billion) under the programme, and credit growth has far oustripped the targets of many banks in the first six months of the year as a consequence. Sacombank reported lending VND47 trillion ($2.6 billion) during the period, an amount equal to 85 per cent of its lending target for the entire year. Asia Commercial Bank also reported exceeding targets by about 50 per cent in the first half. Eximbank said it had nearly met its VND34 trillion ($1.9 billion) target for the entire year, while East Asia Bank said it had met its annual credit growth target at the end of May. In addition to the subsidised loans to businesses, banks also lifted consumer lending. State Bank of Viet Nam statistics show that total outstanding consumer loans at the end of May reached VND85 trillion ($4.8 billion), up 11.6 per cent since December. To rein in the rapid growth of credit, banks were now saying that they would restructure lending priorities in the second half to favour production, while restricting consumer lending and speculative loans in the real estate or securities markets. The change in priorities would help avoid overheating and minimise bad debts, said Asia Commercial Bank general director Ly Xuan Hai….