COVID-19 accelerates banking digitisation: seminar

The Covid-19 pandemic has speeded up the banking sector’s awareness of digitisation by three to five years and forced lenders to accelerate the process to survive and grow.

 

This is in line with global trends and provides a strong push for digitisation, delegates told the 2020 Viet Nam Retail Banking Forum titled ‘The role of retail banking services in promoting economic digitalisation in the post-COVID-19 period’ organised last week by the Viet Nam Banking Association and IDG.

Nguyen Toan Thang, secretary general of the Viet Nam Banks Association, said the pandemic has brought about a change in banking habits, with online banking transactions increasing sharply, especially during the social distancing period.

“Online banking has developed strongly with many new convenient services and products. Banks have invested plenty in modern technologies like contactless payment, super apps, virtual assistant.”

He quoted a report as saying that in the first six months of this year the number of customers using mobile banking services increased by 1.4-2.6 times year-on-year.

Mobile banking transaction accounted for 40 per cent of the total transactions during this period, and even 80 per cent in some banks, he said.

He also shared a report from the National Payment Corporation of Viet Nam that said the amount of money withdrawn from ATMs fell from 90 per cent of total transactions in 2015 to 26.5 per cent this year. The 24/7 online money transfer increased from 1.1 per cent to 66.6 per cent.

Vu Viet Ngoan, Vice Chairman of the National Financial and Monetary Policy Advisory Council said COVID-19 has completely changed people’s habits, forcing banks to change to meet these demands.

The other factor speeding up digitisation of the banking sector is the advancement of cutting-edge technologies like cloud, block chain and digital solutions, he said.

Digitisation of banking is inevitable and would only increase since Viet Nam is one of the first countries to deploy 5G technology.

Furthermore, the start-up eco-system, including fintech, has rapidly developed, which would foster digitisation, he said.

“Banking is an important part of the economy. The digitasation of the economy cannot happen without the digitisation of the banking sector.”

Participants also spoke about the difficulties they faced in digitising and said they should therefore join hands to seek solutions.

On the sidelines of the seminar an exhibition showcasing advanced technologies and products that have been used to digitise was organised.

The annual Viet Nam Outstanding Banking Awards were also given away. Instituted in 2012 they seek to honour the best banks and fintech companies and best banking services.

This year 16 banks and four fintech companies won them, with the Bank of Investment and Development Vietnam (BIDV), Viet Nam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade (Vietinbank) and Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank) being named the most outstanding retail banks.

Awards were also given for best digitisation, outstanding banking services and products and strong support to high-tech agriculture and small and medium-sized enterprises and community. 

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