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Coping with the volatility of the financial situation in Vietnam, banks are changing their business model to focus on retail banking. The race becoming the “perfect retail bank” has perhaps entered its most fiercely competitive stage yet.


Portrait of the “best retail bank”
Being the best bank means to constantly challenge the organization’s performance and raising the bar once a target is met. Top performing retail banks across the globe follow this practice to push their own limits and come out as the best.

Financial specialists world-wide have come to the consensus that being the best retail is to be characterised by superb execution across a broad range of activities and would possess the following attributes: A modus operandi of simple, easy, quick in every regard; A clear identity grounded in customer needs, backed by effective marketing that drives traffic to all channels; A superior customer experience, anchored by high-performing branches running at full capacity; a dynamic and efficient sales force; A highly focused product porfolio; A seamless, easy-to-negative multichannel environment; Automated, image-and workflow-enabled, low-overhead, one touch operations; Vigorous risk management; Performance-oriented leadership that fosters employee pride in the bank’mission and its ability to deliver value to customer; A dynamic culture that strives for excellence.

It means that to be recognized as the best retail bank is very difficult, particularly in the tough context of Vietnam’s economy at the moment. Despite these challenges, Ocean Bank has successfully shifted to retail banking and achieved excellent accomplishments. The award “Best Retail Bank Vietnam 2013” by Global Banking & Finance Review has recognized the remarkable efforts and achievements of Ocean Bank.

oceanbank brand identity
oceanbank brand identity

Brand and 4 Ps standard
Ocean Bank’s story of becoming the best retail bank Vietnam 2013 started from the bank’s change of the brand identity with the desire to bring about the perfect experience for customers. From the “millions of USD Logo” inspired by blue ocean, white sand and bright sunshine to the design of branches in an unique, modern and comfortable style, Ocean Bank has been continuously embarking on a comprehensive change in criteria 4Ps: Product, Place; Process and People.

Ocean Bank has consecutively launched series of high quality products, retail services consistent with the needs of targeted-customer segments (Products) such as: accumulative savings “For my beloved child”, ATM billionaire card 100% free of charge; Visa Food Lovers credit card; Savings for your future’s Real estate purchasing purpose.

Ocean Bank’s next step is to renovate branches and transaction office system (Place). The most significant differentiation for Ocean Bank’s branch design is the unconventional retail banking space organized as a luxury café or lobby of a 5-star hotel with wide open spaces, uniquely designed tables and chairs, custom lighting and chandelier, comfortable installment areas inspired by European luxurious and stylish designs, free Wi-Fi for Internet Banking etc…

In addition, Ocean Bank has comprehensively changed its processes in providing service at branches with introduction of pleasant, helpful and professional customer relationship staff to welcome and serve customers immediately at the first touch point. This is one of the most important point in the overall change in serving process (Process) at branches. Ocean Bank has also made great efforts to simplify and shorten serving procedures such as: Register through Easy Banking channels (SMS, Bankstore.vn); Cash transfer in 5 seconds; Credit appraisal in only 4-8 hour.

In the final step to complete its aspired retail banking model, Ocean Bank focus on developing qualified, enthusiastic and professional work force (People). In the midst of difficult economic situation and while many companies especially banks have chosen to reduce their workforce to cut costs, Ocean Bank has continued to recruit over 1,000 employees to meet the needs of the bank’s rapidly expanding retail business. Ocean Bank’s workforce up to now has reached over 3,000 people.

The outstanding differences
The “Best retail Bank Vietnam 2013” awarded by Global Banking and Finance Review to Ocean Bank is a milestone confirming the remarkably successful transformation of Ocean Bank during the past years. While talking about the strengths of Ocean Bank, Tran Thanh Quang, Deputy General Director, said: “Up to tnow, Ocean Bank has completed the brand identity change and transformation to the retail banking model. In just a year, we have successfully launched the multi-channel distribution system: Direct, Online, SMS, Mobile Internet, Mobile Apps… The most outstanding differentiation is the first online retail bank store in Vietnam at the address http://bankstore.vn and the first mordern X-ATM model in Vietnam. We strive to bring customers new experiences and a positively comprehensive view of Ocean Bank. It is strategic changes as these that help us gain trust and loyalty from customers as well as attract more new customers to Ocean Bank.

An additional highlight is the package of “dumping rate” – the only 5.91% lending rate offered by Ocean Bank has sparked a fever in Vietnam financial market. The bank representative said that: even with the interest rate of only 5.91% (this rate signifies a lost at other Vietnamese banks), Ocean Bank is still able to make it work with its good sources that minimize costs. What Ocean Bank hopes with this “dumping rate” package is to gain trust and loyalty of customers especially as this is the critical factor to enable growth and sustainability despite the difficult economic situation. At the same time, this will also be helping to stimulate consuming demand, break the ice that is currently on the real estate market and give customers a chance to access credit at a low cost.

There is evidently a long way to go in order for Ocean Bank as well as other banks in Vietnam to become the “best retail bank”. However, analysts are optimistic about Ocean Bank’s growth and sustainability in the path to becoming the widely recognized best retail bank, based on the promising results from the past years accomplished by Ocean Bank’s efforts. The award “Best Retail Bank Vietnam 2013” by Global Banking & Finance Review is an attestation for the growth and development of Ocean Bank in retail banking.