Exclusive: ‘Vietnam in banking’s fast lane’ – Gillian Shaw, RBR in “The Fintech Magazine”

With demand for banking services in Southeast Asia increasing rapidly as populations and economies grow, RBR’s flagship conference Self-Service Banking Asia 2020 will explore how innovation in banking can transform growth challenges into new opportunities. We caught up with Gillian Shaw, the conference producer, to find out more about the region’s hot topics and what we can expect from the event.

The Fintech Magazine: Why will this year’s Self-Service Banking Asia conference be hosted in Vietnam and what exactly do you mean by self-service banking?

Gillian Shaw: We are really excited to be holding this year’s edition of the conference in Vietnam, not least because it is one of the world’s fast-growing economies, due to its expanding consumer market and stable political situation. 

There’s lots of untapped potential here; 69 per cent of adults in Vietnam – or 50 million people – still don’t have a bank account. Vietnam is still a heavily cash-based society, with close to 99 per cent of transactions conducted in cash, so the demand for other types of payments is growing with the economy. With all this in mind, the government has launched a number of financial inclusion measures over the last few years to expand cash and banking services to rural areas. 

While self-service banking used to just mean the more traditional options like ATMs and banking kiosks, it now includes a real mix of different banking channels, including internet and mobile. 

Customer behaviour is changing largely due to the impact of smartphones; bank customers expect to be able to transact as and when they choose.

FM: Is Vietnam fintech friendly?

GS: Yes, absolutely! Vietnam is establishing itself as a hub of fintech innovation. There are currently around 100 fintechs operating in Vietnam and most of them are collaborating with banks. The government has been focussing on strengthening fintech in the country as it sees digital payments as a quick way of bringing payment services to the unbanked. Vietnam has a youthful population, a large number of smartphone owners and a rapidly expanding ecommerce sector – all of which are helping to set the pace of digitisation.

TFM: What are the most exciting innovations coming out of the Southeast Asia region?

GS: The region is home to many innovative industry players which are adding state-of-the-art functionalities to ATMs such as biometrics, recycling and cardless cash withdrawal. Digital self-service banking solutions are also evolving quickly as fintechs race to capitalise on growing consumer demand. With the region’s population still heavily cash reliant, banks are looking for next-generation cash distribution models to take banking to the masses. Other forms of payment, particularly QR code payments, which are already so big in China, are taking off in Southeast Asia as merchants pick up on the low cost of adoption.

TFM: What makes Self-Service Banking Asia unique and what’s on the agenda this year?

GS: The banks at our Asia conference always bring an unparalleled level of enthusiasm with them, making the most of this unique opportunity to learn from each other and explore first hand the latest technology. With significant growth challenges in the region, banks are keen to discuss best practices for extending digital offerings and refining self-service strategies. 

Topics on the agenda include financial inclusion, big data, branch transformation, customer experience, omnichannel and digital transformation. Thought leaders from institutions such as Bank Indonesia, Maybank, Land Bank of the Philippines, HSBC, Barclays, CIBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Bank Muamalat Malaysia, soCash and Krungsri Finnovate will be giving their expert opinions on the region’s innovations. The conference also has a dynamic exhibition area, showcasing the latest self-service banking technology from leading international suppliers.

TFM: When is the conference taking place and how can we find out more?

GS: Self-Service Banking Asia 2020 takes place at the Windsor Plaza Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on 18 and 19 March 2020. For more information about how to get involved as an exhibitor, speaker or delegate, please email me directly at gillian.shaw@rbrlondon.com or visit www.rbrlondon.com/ssba 



This article was published in The Fintech Magazine: Issue #15, Page 29 & 30.



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Author: Laimis Bilys