Techcombank last week officially opened its new headquarters at the Techcombank Tower in Hanoi. Simon Morris, CEO of Techcombank, tells VIR’s Hoang Anh this milestone spotlights Techcombank’s continuous development in its 19 years of history with the core value of putting “customers first”.
Since Techcombank’s establishment on September 27, 1993, the bank has relocated its headquarters three times, each of which marks a milestone in the bank’s growth. Is it true?
Moving into a new facility is a special event for Techcombank as we get more than 2,000 staff members under one roof for the first time. Changing head offices is a fact of a growing bank, so we took this decision to invest in an international standard facility like Techcombank Tower. It will be beneficial for the bank in the way that we are able to manage and run the business and become more responsive to our customers.
Moreover, this is a significant investment for our new headquarters in a prime location in order to meet the development needs of Techcombank in this new stage, clearly expressing the confidence, support and commitment for the long-term investment of the board of directors as well as the bank’s shareholders to bring greater successes to the bank in the future.
This year has been seen another difficult year for Vietnam’s economy with a forecast of slower GDP growth. Does this impose more challenges on Techcombank since you took office a year ago?
I think in the current global economic environment, there are different levels of uncertainties, different levels of turbulence and challenges. There are a few countries today having perfect economic environment, because we are in global economic environment, challenges that we face in some countries are attributed to not only local factors, but also international ones.
2012 has been a slower year for the Vietnam’s economy and banking industry. According to the State Bank of Vietnam, credit growth has been much lower than it was in previous year because of the credit tightening policy and this is a challenge for the overall banking industry, not for Techcombank only.
However, we must look at how inflation is significantly curbed, how VND is maintained at an adequate level and the interest rate is coming down. When we run a bank, we cannot look at those things in the next six months or three years, but take a longer view on what our customers want us to be in the next five, 10 and 15 years. What we are trying today is to make sure we grow, and our customers will appreciate the investments we make.
In the context of Techcombank, we are making the investment in new premises, in our new head office building, in the system, in the people and the products we offer to our customers. There are many banks in Vietnam so there are many choices for customers and naturally, we want to make sure Techcombank stays at the front of the pack.
As the third quarter of the year elapses, are you now confident to say that Techcombank’s performance indicators such as credit growth in 2012 will be within your set targets?
It is hard to say about the business performance before the year ends, but I acknowledge that Techcombank’s credit growth would, due to external environment, be lower than expected. I am not too upset about that as it is very easy for banks to lend money, but what we look for is the consistent and sustainable growth.
What we want is to sacrifice quantity to quality. We received the highest credit quota for banks from the State Bank of Vietnam and so far I have not seen any bank reaching the expected credit growth. I think it is not necessary and also not a bad thing. In summary, the expected credit growth this year is very slow, but it will rebound in 2013, especially there is potentially stronger growth in the second half of next year.
How have you and your staff been ready to take up this growth opportunity ahead of other bankers if your forecast comes true?
Techcombank has become one of the leading commercial joint stock banks in the market, with the nation-wide network of 314 branches, 1,250 ATMs, and a workforce of 7,300 employees, serving 2.6 million individual customers and 72,000 business clients.
Next year, we will open more branches across the country and further improve our service quality. We should understand how and what our targeted customer segments want from Techcombank.
We keep an open mind about potential opportunities in the future to tap them, making our banking services friendlier to customers. We just make sure we do the best of our possibility. We aspire to become not the largest bank, but the most qualified bank.