Home Credit sets sights on Vietnamese consumer finance

November 15, 2023 | 17:58
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Despite the recent headwinds in the consumer finance market, Home Credit Vietnam still has its sights set on Vietnam. Pham Ngoc Khang, the company's CFO, spoke with VIR’s Thanh Van about his strategy to navigate amidst the turbulence.
Home Credit sets sight on Vietnam’s consumer finance market

How would you assess the consumer finance market in Vietnam at the moment?

External headwinds such as war, the slowdown in global demand, and rising inflation, along with domestic challenges such as the decline in consumption, exports, and real estate have created difficulties for consumer finance and, consequently, Home Credit.

Despite these challenges, we are still providing loans to our customers, typically to low-income underserved workers who need us, like ride-hailing drivers buying motorbikes at zero per cent interest and young families seeking first-time loans.

The potential for consumer finance here remains significant. I am optimistic about the market's recovery in the medium and long term, driven by continued economic growth and rising incomes.

70 per cent of Vietnamese customers are unbanked or underserved, and this segment will keep growing in the next 10 years. These are low-income customers with no credit history, not being served by traditional banks.

We have 6000 employees serving 15 million customers, out of whom 40 per cent are receiving credit for the first time.

We have leveraged technologies to reach and impact more people's lives while reporting robust financials, healthy non-performing loans, and increased customer and employee satisfaction.

Could you speak about the implementation of ‘digital finance’?

Home Credit has been committed to a customer-centric approach throughout the over 15 years of operation in Vietnam.

We have consistently optimised the customer experience thanks to technology across all of our services. Our main goal is to enable our vulnerable and unbanked customers to access simple and quick loan packages in line with their financial capacities. We strive to offer a seamless customer experience across all customer touchpoints, anytime, anywhere.

As an example, it takes just 30 seconds to apply for a loan on the Home App and receive approval thanks to early integration of big data, AI and embracing tech partnerships.

To improve the customer experience, we have leveraged our partnership with FPT.AI to implement AI call centres and AI innovation labs, resulting in the launch of virtual agents for our call centres, reducing costs by as much as half while maintaining customer satisfaction at 4.5 out of 5.

We have also enabled digital loan repayments via MoMo App, Home Paylater with Tiki and other e-commerce platforms.

We are committed to constant innovation. From introducing paperless contracts as early as 2019, to adapting to a virtual credit card during the COVID-19 pandemic, launching Home PayLater – an advanced 'buy now, pay later' product last year, and integrating voice bots and chatbots for improved service and sales, we consistently stay ahead of evolving customer needs.

For a financial company operating in a new market like Vietnam, what does being 'sustainable' mean?

Sustainability has been an integral part of Home Credit since day one. We ensure ethical business practices and take pride in having transparent processes and language to make sure our customers can easily and clearly understand what they are committing to.

As a regulated financier, we enforce a strict training and supervision course for our staff to ensure transparency, compliance, and the highest level of customer satisfaction.

We also offer suitable and affordable options with sustainable repayment plans, preventing customers from falling into spiralling debt

Financial inclusion is dear to us, and we support people who are underserved by traditional banks, which, as I said earlier, is 70 per cent of Vietnamese adults. This opens up new opportunities to contribute to the government’s financial inclusion strategy.

We promote responsible borrowing practices via roadshows, the financial literacy initiative Home Smart with the State Bank of Vietnam, and have a publishing partner for a financial management book.

The company is also actively engaged in the community, for example, over the past nine years, we have been working on the Home for Life project, which provides zero per cent interest loans to customers in difficult situations. Despite her age, an 81-year-old woman from Yen Bai recently participated in our financial management training sessions with determination and a positive spirit. This kind of thing motivates us to continue promoting a sustainable digital finance model for all customers, especially the vulnerable in remote areas.

Thanks to these efforts, Home Credit has reaped several recognitions. We have been voted as the most desired brand and best place to work for three consecutive years. We are the only consumer finance company recognised among the top 100 sustainable companies in Vietnam by VCCI, and the first consumer finance company to release an environmental, social, and governance report, demonstrating transparency and commitment to sustainable development.

What can we expect from Home Credit in 2024?

Home Credit is committed to being a long-term partner for our customers and will continue to do things the right way.

We listen to our customers' needs and will continue to improve their customer experience. To achieve this, we have to offer a seamless customer experience in both offline and online channels and enhance sustainable digital finance across all business activities so that we can onboard new generations of customers on their lending journey.

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By Thanh Van

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional