Digital banking platform Timo has opened a Hanoi office as part of its market expansion to woo larger numbers of users.

Its Hanoi office is at its new “Timo Hangout” at 17 Ngo Quyen, while it opened a Ho Chi Minh City office in May.

“With this new step, we hope to attract over 100,000 users in the next year,” Mr. Claude Spiese, CEO of Timo, told VET on November 19.

Launched in May, Timo is a product borne of a combination between the Global Online Financial Solutions Company and Vietnam’s VPBank. Total users stood at more than 20,000 users by November, according to Mr. Spiese.

VPBank will be the only bank with which Timo cooperates, while other types of financial institutions, such as insurance companies, can also cooperate with the platform.

Unlike other fintech platforms that have conflicts of interest with traditional banks, Timo and VPBank have come together for mutual benefit. “Fintech companies play a significant role in the banking industry and related sectors in digital banking,” said Mr. Vo Tan Long, Chief Digital Officer at VPBank. “These companies are gradually bringing a friendly experience to customers and the cooperation of banks and fintech companies is a solution that provides competitive advantages.”

Traditional banks, according to Mr. Long, should cooperate with fintech companies rather than going it alone, and this would bring many more benefits to customers. “Banks can also reduce their operational costs due to the advanced technology of fintech companies,” he went on. “This type of cooperation also has the support of State authorities.”

Users of Timo can benefit from its free services, with Mr. Spiese confirming that this is a long-term strategy of the company to win over customers.

“Timo is the first digital banking platform in Vietnam and meets the expectations of many customers, especially the younger generation,” said Mr. Nguyen Duc Vinh, CEO of VPBank.

Mr. Spiese added that Timo would be a channel for customers to deposit their money and for VPBank to use these deposits to provide banking services.

Timo provides free digital services while taking charge of physical services if needed, he added. Under its long-term strategy, Timo targets millions of users by making a solid start with thousands. Other financial services, such as credit cards and overdrafts, are also part of its plans in Vietnam.

Its growth, however, will depend on geographical factors, as it has found success in Ho Chi Minh City and now Hanoi, which gives it momentum to develop nationwide, said Mr. Spiese.

“If Vietnam can finish the national biometric identification project the Ministry of Home Affairs is undertaking, it would also be a major step forward for digital banking in Vietnam,” he said.