Consumer Finance in Vietnam: The Ambivalent Effect of Controversial Debt Collection


About the Webinar

Vietnam is experiencing a consumer finance boom. This recent development raises an interesting paradox. On the one hand, the state and financial actors promote consumer finance as a tool to consolidate financial institutions, depersonalize credit relations, and eradicate an ‘archaic’ but persistent informal sector typified by ‘black credit’ moneylending gangs and personalized credit relationships. On the other hand, banks and financial companies involve borrowers’ relatives, friends and employers in private credit transactions. Moreover, financial companies hire aggressive collectors connected to black credit gangs to collect arrears. This paradox reveals an ambivalence of the consumer finance sector whereby formal lenders use collection practices that they lambaste for being informal and abusive when used by moneylenders. This talk argues that the implementation of these practices in the face of political narratives and regulatory efforts to eliminate them both supports and subverts the development of consumer finance in Vietnam. This ambivalence is characteristic of transitional and emerging societies where formal rules and laws are desynchronized and underenforced with informal norms and practices.

About the Speaker

Nicolas Lainez is a Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement. He is based at CESSMA (IRD, Université de Paris, INALCO) in Paris. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. Prior to becoming anthropologist, he worked as a photojournalist for the media and the NGO sector. He has worked as a Postdoc Fellow for the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, a Visiting Fellow at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, and an Adjunct faculty at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at NUS in Singapore. His research areas include financialization, credit, debt, migration, trafficking, gender and sexuality. His work has been published in American Anthropologist, the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Geoforum, Time & Society, The Sociological Review, Culture, Health and Sexuality, and the Journal of Vietnamese Studies.


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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Apr 12 2022


3:00 pm - 4:15 pm