Yet another bank says no to Vietnam coins
Updated : 07/18/2012 11:49 GMT + 7
Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, residing in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3, Tuesday brought a handful of Vietnamese coins to a bank branch, hoping to exchange them into banknotes, but eventually had to go home with disappointment.
The Ban Co transaction office of the Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, commonly known as Agribank, told Mai that the coins are no longer used in the markets, and redirected her to its headquarters for the exchange.
Mai said the coins are worth only several hundred dong, which is too small a sum. (VND100,000 = US$5)
“The coins were given to me as change by bookstores, supermarkets, and post offices, so why can’t the bank just accept them?” she told a Tuoi Tre reporter in anger.
But this is not the first time a coin holder has been turned down by a bank over their bid to exchange the metal into paper notes.
Earlier this month Bui Van Duc, a bus driver, was also rejected by a transaction office of Asia Commercial Bank as he attempted to pay part of his loan interest in coins.
The bank turned his metal payment down and told him to exchange them for paper banknotes at the State Bank of Vietnam, he told Tuoi Tre later.
Officials from the central bank asserted that Vietnamese coins are still eligible for circulation, and any refusal to receive payments in coins is against state regulation.
In late 2003 the government reinstated the coins in a bid to increase automatic payment for vending machines.
The new coins, in denominations of VND200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000, initially captured local residents’ excitement for their reappearance after many years, but soon appeared to be troublesome as the metal easily drops out of pockets or becomes tarnished.
No new coins have been made since 2010 due to rising steel prices, which made it costlier to produce coins than polymer banknotes.
The coins today, especially those in denominations of VND200 and 500, are also of little use as consumer prices have soared.
In late May it was rumored that the central bank would recall the Vietnam dong coins and stop their circulation, a myth that was immediately dispelled by the central bank.