Vietnamese bank tempts savers with German beer

Thu Oct 7, 2010 2:21am EDT
 
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HANOI (Reuters Life!) - A small Vietnamese bank has started giving away beer to customers who make deposits, the latest in a string of gimmicks deployed by lenders in the Southeast Asian country to attract savers.

Western Bank launched the nationwide promotion on Wednesday, offering a large can of Bitburger beer imported from Germany for each one-month deposit of at least 7.5 million dong ($385) made until November 25.

"We started this award before Tet, as every other bank has its own promotion," said a teller at the bank, which is based in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho.

In the run-up to Tet, Vietnam's Lunar New Year festival, which usually falls in February, cash demand rises as companies pay year-end bonuses and consumers splash out.

Tropical Vietnam has a long tradition of beer drinking, introduced by French colonists in the late 19th century. Although local brews dominate the market, rising living standards have allowed city dwellers to taste foreign brands.

Authorities have been trying for months to get banks to cut interest rates, both on loans and deposits, so lenders have had to get creative in the fight for depositors.

Inducements have ranged from a tour of Europe to cars, crash helmets, bed sheets and blood pressure monitors.

(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by John Ruwitch and Alan Raybould)