The Leaderboard: Nguyen Van Binh

Who is he?

Nguyen Van Binh is the governor of the State Bank of Vietnam. Binh started his career at the Vietnamese Central Bank at age 25 upon receiving an economics degree in the former Soviet Union. Throughout his career, Binh focused extensively on issues of international finance and cooperation with international financial institutions.

Following a post to Russia from 2001 to 2005, Binh returned to an executive position at the Central Bank. He became deputy-governor in 2008, and governor in 2011. Binh has made few public appearances and is seen as taciturn.

Nguyen Van Binh, then-Deputy Governor of State Bank of Vietnam speaking at the 2010 World Economic Forum on East Asia in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Source: World Economic Forum’s flickr photostream under a creative commons license.

Why is he in the news?

In light of the ongoing banking crisis in Vietnam, on October 8 the central government tasked Governor Binh with taking measures to clean up bad debt in the banking system within the next year. In a recent television interview, Binh vowed to crack down on small groups of powerful shareholders that have been exploiting Vietnamese lending institutions for their own purposes.

He called group interests the biggest obstacle in restructuring the Vietnamese banking system. At the same time, he acknowledged that Vietnam’s present institutions and regulations have not keep pace with its rapidly changing financial landscape in the last two decades.

What can we expect from him?

Binh holds a remarkable record since his appointment in 2011. Under his leadership, inflation went from its peak at 23 percent in mid-2011 to 12 percent in the first six months of this year. The central bank juggled maintaining economic growth and controlling rampant inflation with some success. Binh was at the periphery of decisions to allocate state funds and lend support to failing state-owned conglomerates, and is seen as having a level of integrity needed to tackle corruption and cronyism.

Binh was given authority and arguably received support from senior Party leadership before appearing on TV. He is likely to play an important role in the aftermath of the 6th plenum of the Central Party Committee, which is focusing on the current political-economic crisis, including tackling corruption, reforming state owned enterprises, and evaluating the performance of the Politburo and Secretariat.


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