By Hau Lee (Stanford), Jawad Masood (UCLA), and Christopher Tang (UCLA)
Like many developing countries, access to credit for middle and lower classes through formal banking channels is limited in Vietnam. With a population of more than 90 million, there is only one bank branch for 30,000 people and only 20 percent of the population owns bank accounts. Hence, lower- and middle- class Vietnamese citizens have very limited access to credit lending. By the end of 2011, there were one million credit cards issued in Vietnam only to the high-income class because of the absence of a personal credit bureau. Consequently, Vietnam's poor and rapidly expanding middle class have very limited access to credit because they are considered high-risk customers due to lack of a formal credit history.