While many local residents consider the dong coins inconvenient and rarely use them in daily trading activities, a transaction office of Asia Commercial Bank received complaints for having refused to receive coins from a customer.
Bui Van Duc said he has borrowed loan from an ACB transaction office in HCM City’s District 8, and has to pay VND942,000 worth of monthly interest.
On the morning of June 30, he went to clear the interest as usual. He paid VND 900,000 in banknotes, and tried to clear the remaining VND42,000 in coins of VND2,000 and 5,000 denominations.
“But the bank turned it down and told me to exchange them for paper banknotes at the State Bank of Vietnam,” he said.
A bus driver, Duc said the coins came from his customers, and he in fact had difficulty using them at shops or stores, and even repaying the bus-goers as change.
“And now, even when I attempted to return [the coins] to the bank, they also rejected me,” he said.
In response, ACB deputy chief Nguyen Thanh Toai said it is not the bank’s policy to refuse coins.
“The transaction office has breached our regulation and will thus receive disciplinary action,” he said, adding that the bank will apologise to Duc.
The Vietnamese coins were reinstated in late 2003, under the government’s bid to increase automatic payment for vending machines. The new coins are in denominations of VND200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 5,000.
Local residents were at first excited to see the coins reappear after many years, but soon considered them troublesome as the coins easily drop out of pockets or become tarnished.
The SBV stopped issuing new coins in 2010 due to rising steel prices, which made it costlier to produce coins than polymer banknotes, and because coins in denominations of VND200 and 500 are of little use amid this time of skyrocketing prices.
In late May it was rumoured that the central bank would recall the dong coins and stop their circulation as of May 27.
But an SBV official later confirmed that this was false.