Banking sector must accelerate reform efforts, say experts

The banking sector has experienced dramatic changes this year but has more reform is needed, delegates heard at the Vietnam Retail Banking Forum 2015 held on November 18 in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tran Thi Hong Hanh, general secretary of the Vietnam Banks Association, said: "The restructuring process with merger & acquisitions, efforts and steps taken by the State Bank of Vietnam to bring the bad-debt ratio under 3%, and the preparation for financial integration of ASEAN are the three factors motivating transformation and innovation in the banking sector and retail banking."

Also speaking at the forum, Le Thanh Tam, CEO of International Data Group (IDG) ASEAN, presented the Vietnam Banking Report 2015 at the forum, which discussed customer-centric and tech-savvy models for next-generation banking.

"In 2015, due to the explosion of information technology as well as the strong growth of electronic services all over the world, banking services on the platform of mobile devices are developing rapidly in Vietnam," Tam said.

As of 2014, there were 30 banks participating in Vietnam, compared to 19 banks in 2012.

banking sector must accelerate reform efforts, say experts hinh 0
Photo: VNA

In a survey on customer perspectives for retail banking, IDG found an upward trend in customers' preferences and attention on electronic and mobile-based products and services, from an insignificant rate in 2013 to 12% in 2015.

"This is also one of the major aspects customers require improvements in the next two years. Moreover, despite current dominance in the market, domestic banks are losing market share to foreign-owned banks, largely thanks to their customer-centric policies and simplification of procedures," he added.

He said that Paypal, Google Wallet and others were an international trend.

"About 53% of customers now pay attention to information security, compared to 12% in 2012," he said. "The banking industry needs to improve their technology, procedures and professional banking services."

The conference discussed trends in retail banking solutions to improve operational efficiency, build customer trust and ensure quality of consistent multi-channel banking services.

The Vietnam Retail Banking Forum (previously known as ASEAN Banker Forum) is one of the most prestigious regional forums for banking leaders, technology directors, specialists in the finance sector and companies that provide IT solutions for the banking industry.

The aim is to discuss key issues in which banks are interested and come up with solutions to improve banks' operational performance in the region.

The event was co-organised by Vietnam Banks Association (VNBA) and International Data Group (IDG Vietnam).

Within the framework of the forum was the Vietnam Outstanding Banking Services Awards which aims to honour the important role of banks and IT solution companies to the banking sector and the economy.

This year, outstanding banks in Vietnam were honoured in the following categories: Outstanding Retail Banking Award; Outstanding E-Banking Award; Outstanding Security Initiatives Banking Award; Outstanding Innovative Banking Product & Service Award; and Bank for Community Award.