Vietnamese bankers gear up for e-banking

VietNamNet Bridge – Analysts have every reason to believe that the fiercest competition among banks is a technological one.

Money remittances, for example, can be sent now from one person to another via Facebook accounts a service recently launched by Techcombank. Under the service, the receiver gets a password to be able to withdraw money from ATMs.

Techcombank and other Vietnamese commercial banks have been making every effort to approach clients via different channels.

According to Dr. Can Van Luc, a banking expert, the e-banking era in the country started in 2006-2007 when internet banking services were marketed on the basis of improved internet infrastructure.

Mobile banking services have also become more popular over the last two years.

Luc cited a report as saying that 43 banks in Vietnam now provide internet banking services, while only 32 banks provide mobile banking, and the total number of mobile banking accounts is just equal to half of internet banking accounts.

Vietnam is believed to have high potential for e-banking development thanks to the high internet access capability.

At least 43.9 percent of the population use the internet, higher than the average 35 percent in Southeast Asia as reported by the World Bank, and there is a high percentage (36 percent) of smartphone users.

Kalidas Ghose, personal banking director at VP Bank, noted that retail banks design different distribution channels that fit different groups of customers, instead of providing all services at their branches.

An analyst said that in the future opening more branches and transaction points would not be the optimal solution for banks to expand their networks.

He said that success in the competition among banks depends on technological solutions, which allow banks to get closer to clients.

However, the analyst noted that while banks have geared up to develop e-banking services, many customers have remained indifferent.

According to SmartLink, the Vietnam National Financial Switching Joint Stock Company, only 30 percent of internet banking accounts have regular activity, while the figure is 50 percent for mobile banking by June 2014.

Meanwhile, according to Statista.com, in 2012, the number of e-banking customers in Vietnam only accounted for 8.9 percent of the population, equal to that in the Middle East and Africa, and one-third of the world’s average level.

Nguyen Hoang Long, deputy general director of SmartLink, while noting that banks were injecting more money into e-banking solutions, commented that the investments made by banks vary.

“Most of the banks just aim to provide basic services, while 30 percent of banks provide higher utilities,” he noted.

NCDT

Vietnamese bankers, e-banking, banks
 
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