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Banking & Finance

Digital preference

Released at: 09:13, 28/10/2014

Digital preference

Mr Nirukt Sapru, CEO of Standard Chartered Vietnam, spoke with VET's Thong Dat about local consumer behavior towards the products and services of banks.

by Thong Dat

What in your opinion is the greatest challenge traditional banks face in their move to become “digital banks”?

The greatest challenge is their mindset. The new digital age thinks and behaves very differently than we did in the past. Internet, smart phones and social media have revolutionized the whole paradigm of banking and payments. Today, customers expect their transactions to be processed in the simplest manner from the comfort of their homes or smart phones at the fastest speed with the highest level of security. The challenge for banks is to strike a balance between new age customer needs and security and regulatory requirements.   

How do you see consumer behavior in Vietnam? How have you taken those habits into consideration when developing your services?

Vietnam is a fast growing country with a young, literate and internet-savvy population. It is only natural that they have been faster to embrace online and mobile conveniences. As a consumer organisation we anticipate what customers want and provide those functionalities, and that is what we have done in the online space. Customer satisfaction is reflected by our increasing volume of online transactions, wherein customers now perform over 80 per cent of non-cash transactions online and over 65 per cent register for online banking upfront and prefer not to come to branches unless absolutely necessary. Customer adoption of digital channels reflects our success just as much as winning the award and being the clear leader in digital banking capabilities in Vietnam.

What are the opportunities for banks in Vietnam with customers being increasingly tech-savvy?

Vietnam has among the youngest populations in the world, a 93 per cent literacy rate, 41 per cent internet penetration, and 21 million smart phone users. The country is ready for and demanding online solutions and this presents a huge opportunity for the banking industry to grow online banking, digital commerce, and mobile payments. The ability to reach customers through digital channels is many times higher than the traditional branch model. With digital, any person with a mobile phone can be a customer, it’s that simple. The digital platform also drastically brings down the time and cost of banking, which can then be passed on to customers through fee reductions. It’s a win-win for banks and customers. At Standard Chartered our digital platform is always the most convenient, fastest and cost efficient way of getting banking transactions done for our clients.

Standard Chartered Bank (Vietnam) has been presented with the “Best Consumer Internet Bank in Vietnam” award by Global Finance for the third consecutive year. What is behind this success? 

At Standard Chartered we recognized this trend early and are at the forefront of digital banking, investing in the right capabilities. We have an innovation lab with a team of young digital-savvy graduates from leading schools who help us look at banking from a fresh perspective and constantly feed new innovative ideas to our digital banking team. Our global mobile banking application "Breeze" and our online banking websites are examples of how we are making the banking experience cool and extremely user friendly. Digital is the new frontier in banking, with traditional concepts of bricks and mortar branches quickly fading away. Clients want instant and everywhere access to their banking. Banks need to not only catch up but be ahead of customer demands. Achieving a “Three-Peat” by being awarded the “Best Consumer Internet Bank in Vietnam” award for the third consecutive year by Global Finance Magazine, the world’s leading economic and financial publication, is a reaffirmation of this fact.

Vietnam is among the 19 markets globally where Standard Chartered received preeminent industry rankings. Are there any differences in the consumer internet banking development strategy in Vietnam compared with those other countries? 

Standard Chartered has consistently been upgrading its digital platform (online banking, mobile banking, SMS and ATM). At a base level we have a top of the line digital banking platform that supports the online banking needs of our clients across these geographies. This is an integrated platform that allows our global clients to access their Standard Chartered Bank accounts across all these markets. In addition to that, digital capabilities in markets vary depending on the technology and regulatory advancements in the country. In Vietnam we are constantly upgrading our digital platform and recently added online capabilities like overseas fund transfers, term deposits, paying bills at ATMs or signing up for auto payments of their telephone, mobile, and internet bills, doing shopping and even applying for personal loans online with approval in 24 hours! At Standard Chartered we judge the success of any programme based on the customer’s response and they have embraced each digital enhancement the bank has offered.

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