Standard Chartered leads in innovations in financial sector

January 01, 2019 | 14:00
Standard Chartered is continuing ­efforts to strengthen its footprint through investment in the retail ­business and the introduction of ­cutting-edge products, as it endeavours to be an important part of Vietnamese banking and finance in the years ahead.
standard chartered leads in innovations in financial sector
Standard Chartered is one of the first foreign banks to set a footprint in Vietnam, having opened its first branch in Ho Chi Minh City in 1904

The lender has been consistent with its promise to strengthen its activities in Vietnam across all segments, from retail banking to commercial and corporate banking. Its full-service outlet, launched at the beginning of 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City, has boosted Standard Chartered Vietnam’s network to four branches, now reaching out to more customers with the lender’s customisable banking products and services.

“Clients always sit at the heart of what we do, and our focus remains on meeting their evolving needs through the delivery of quality products and services that simplify and enhance their lives,” said Nirukt Sapru, CEO for Vietnam and ASEAN and South Asia Cluster Markets at Standard Chartered.

Bringing with it international expertise and state-of-the-art technologies and innovations, like digital platforms and automated biometric safe deposit lockers, the lender desires to enhance the experience for local clients.

To further tap into the potential retail banking market in the country, the bank has invested significantly in its retail business over the last two years. It has hired more staff, expanded its distribution network, and brought in new cutting-edge propositions to Vietnam to make banking safer and more convenient for clients.

“This has enabled us to develop our business substantially and create a strong momentum for further growth. As our investment in Vietnam continues, we hope to be able to benefit more clients with our world-class products and services; thus, boosting our business further,” Sapru noted.

According to the head of Retail Banking at Standard Chartered Vietnam, Harmander Mahal, the UK-backed group deems the country to be an exciting consumer market with huge potential for its growing affluent population.

“Our retail banking business in Vietnam has been designed to serve the affluent and emerging affluent segments, and we are focused on building scale in high-growth cities.”

“We are excited about the prospects of our retail business in Vietnam,” Mahal told VIR. “We will continue to leverage our international expertise and local capabilities to deliver world-class products and services to our clients, and building our distribution channels to provide them greater access and convenience.”

Standard Chartered has been known to lead the way in retail banking by building products and capabilities to make banking easier and meet the demands of consumers in dynamic markets, including Vietnam, and evolving in sync with its clients’ digitally-connected lives.

“Globally, we have invested close to $1 billion during 2015-2018 in digital, wealth management and infrastructure, including areas such as artificial intelligence, chatbots and cyber security. These have enabled us to stay ahead of the game, and be able to meet the dreams and ambitions of our clients.” Mahal said.

The lender has introduced various flagship innovations to improve the client experience and drive its business efficiencies worldwide.

For instance, in March 2018, it launched a fully digital bank in the Ivory Coast, a market where it had no retail banking presence. Plans are underway to create one for Hong Kong.

Standard Chartered has also launched Stacy, Standard Chartered’s Retail Banking chatbot, in Hong Kong, where it acts as a virtual personal assistant to help clients manage money, make payments and analyse their spending in a split-second, via natural conversations in English and other languages.

“In Vietnam, we have introduced a range of innovative digital capabilities to our clients aimed at providing them easy, convenient banking solutions, such as the Mobile Banking app, Good Life app, and Biometric Safe Deposit Locker – the first of its kind in the country,” shared the retail banking head.

Standard Chartered in Vietnam is clearly positioned as a digital bank with branches. Over 99 per cent of non-cash transactions at the bank are conducted digitally, and almost all of its clients have registered for online banking and SMS banking services.

Digitisation, meanwhile, will continue to be a key focus of the bank in Vietnam, as it will continue to invest heavily in digital platforms to bring greater convenience to clients.

“We plan to launch a number of digital centres to broaden our scope of service and allow our clients to transact at their convenience round the clock,” added Mahal.

Standard Chartered’s retail excellence has been recognised as the Most Innovative Bank in Vietnam in 2018 by Global Business Outlook and Best Consumer Digital Bank in Vietnam 2018 by Global Finance.

By Minh Trang

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