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Vietcombank’s Nghiem: “Becoming digitalised is the future for banks”
In this instalment of the Digital Reinvention Dialogue series, Nghiem Xuan Thanh, Chairman of Hanoi-based Vietcombank, maps out the bank’s journey towards digital reinvention as one of its top agendas to remain competitive.

September 13, 2020 | Foo Boon Ping
  • Vietcombank started its digital transformation roadmap in 2019 and aims to be the top digital player in Vietnam and a world-class bank by 2025
  • The bank has implemented an open architecture core banking system built on APIs that enhances its connectivity with other financial institutions and fintechs
  • It builds its vision on a legacy of successful reinvention, from shifting its asset book from dollar to dong, to transforming from a wholesale to a leading retail bank

Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam, commonly known as Vietcombank, has been operating since 1955. It was spun off from the State Bank of Vietnam and is considered one of the country’s four largest state-run commercial banks. It is a known name in international trade payment settlement as well as retail lending.

Digital transformation has also been on top of the bank’s agendas. In this interview, Vietcombank Chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh details the bank’s experiences and plans, as well as the structural changes digital technology necessitates in the industry at large. He also shares how the bank decided to change its asset structure to cushion the impact of the 2009 economic crisis on its profitability. The transformation that saw Vietcombank becoming a retail bank both in assets and income structure has been the key behind its improved financial performance in recent years. He emphasises the importance of right orientation, clear goals and perseverance to become successful.

Opportunity and vision driving digital reinvention

Foo Boon Ping (FBP): What does digital reinvention mean to you?

Nghiem Xuan Thanh (NXT): With rapid changes in technology, the future for banks in Vietnam in general – and Vietcombank, in particular – is to become digitalised banking businesses. Institutions must be able to provide products and services that integrate new technology and apply...

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