CIMB Vietnam is leading the way in digital banking in Vietnam. Never resting on their laurels, CIMB Vietnam is continuously developing new products and entering into strategic partnership to create value and deliver the best in-market services to customers. Their rapid growth and strong commitment to developing digital banking solutions led to their success in the 2021 Global Banking & Finance Awards®. In recent interview, Mr. Thomson Fam Siew Kat, CEO of CIMB Vietnam discussed the bank’s strong commitment to their clients, their award- winning success and plans for the future.
Congratulations on CIMB’s award-winning success. What initiatives do you feel led to your success?
We are very pleased as we were honoured with the Fastest Growing Digital Bank award in Vietnam. The award has been a testament to CIMB’s efforts over the past year in the field of digital banking.
In 2021, CIMB has continuously developed many new features and technologies for both our platform & partners’ platform.. We have also expanded cooperation with TOSS and reached an agreement with Finhay to open many utilities allowing customers to use many financial services in all-in-one platform.
Last year, CIMB was awarded Best New Digital Bank in Vietnam. How CIMB became the Fastest Growing Digital Bank in Vietnam in just one year later?
CIMB defined the key strategy is to develop our business based on the foundation of new partnership model strategy with the aspiration spirit to provide customers with the best digital banking services. We have co-operated with partners that share the same desire to fulfill customers’ needs. As a result, we have accelerated the development of our digital banking rapidly.
CIMB also goes far in the market thanks to deployment of digital banking and cooperation with Fintechs. In addition to Toss, this year, we have just had a new cooperation with Finhay, thereby having millions of potential customers for CIMB’s services.
What trends or developments do you see in the digital payment sector in 2022 and the following years?
2022 will continue to be the explosive year of cashless payments. Statistics from research firm Statista show that Vietnam has more than 61.37 million smartphone users, equivalent to 64 per cent of the population. Vietnam is in the Top 10 countries with the highest number of smartphone users. This number will continue to grow rapidly when Vietnam is planning to cut off 2G by 2022. Vietnamese people who are familiar with technology will quickly be interested in online payments, exploring embedded finance and always requires immediate service on a platform.
How CIMB bank adapt with this trend?
Before the trend took place, CIMB had to have a predictive view of the trend. For example, 1 year ago when we predicted embedded finance, we took immediate actions to partner with cutting-edge partners such as Toss (South Korea) or recently Finhay (Vietnam) to enter this market. Now we are the trendsetters.
Currently, CIMB is still working hard to expand more financial and banking utilities for users, allowing them to make transactions, saving and raising capital from anywhere and anytime with a banking luxury experience. We anticipate global trends and we want to create trends in the future.
Security is a major concern for customers when having online transactions. How does CIMB help ensure a secure environment for account holders?
Security has always been one of the top concerns of users. Balancing digital banking security and innovation is tough. . Whilst demand charges ahead, it appears that the adoption of new technologies lags behind the rate of innovation, with concerns around security, privacy and maintaining control acting as key barriers to change. The most difficult part of dealing with security threats is staying ahead of the “bad guys.” For example, in the past, we have to trust on bank tellers to verify customers’ ID Card, face and signature. Now we can quickly verify customers with real-time images and biometrics, that bring customers a seamless onboarding journey.
In addition, CIMB’s system complies with high-class international security certificates and is always updated to ensure a safe and modern banking environment for customers. Because of the solid technology and human resources backing from the parent group in Malaysia, we are confident in our ability to move forward quickly and effectively.
We have always paid attention to provide information, improve knowledge on digital area, appropriate security protocols and update on different types of cybercrime to all of our employees and customers. Our data systems are always closely monitored by experts and the team is also in charge of checking and maintaining the system on a regular basis.
This year CIMB has tied-up with a fintech firm – Finhay to launch a co-branded card. Traditional banks are also scaling up digitalisation. What role do fintechs play in the future of digital financing and financial inclusion?
There has been an explosion in the number of new technology-led entrants in financial services in the last few years, broadly operating under the term FinTechs. Banks and other financial services companies have watched nervously as more and more FinTechs have brought significant innovations to the market. Consolidation in the industry is therefore, inevitable.
“Digital footprint” will be the way forward for all banks. We are one of the first banks that have begun to engage with FinTechs through partnerships, incubator programs and co-create products. How well banks engage in coopetition with Fintech start-ups playing in emerging technologies will determine how they can differentiate in an increasingly crowded market that will likely see high customer churn.
For the next generation of consumers, banking will be something that you ‘do’ with your favourite brands rather than your chosen bank.
While among some other banks, there is a justifiable fear that opening up an ecosystem reduces their potential rewards by increasing competition. However, the reality is that it makes the pie larger, giving everyone the opportunity to grow. This is driven by the network effects that a healthy ecosystem creates, among other factors.
In Vietnam, ecosystems in business have become a noticeable model in leading large companies such as Vingroup and Viettel. However, banking ecosystem have not yet been explored and the CIMB partnership with tech players as Toss and Finhay are one of the first. CIMB bank Vietnam recognized the opportunity and is now focused on developing this four-way partnership to provide a comprehensive ecosystem for a variety of customers.
How can CIMB’s digital bank model improve customer engagement?
People still routinely say “there’s an app for that”, but the truth is, this phrase is outdated, bordering on unhelpful, as a business strategy. Today’s customers increasingly demand connected experiences — not an app or a website, but cohesive experiences that allow them to do what they want, when they want, in the ways they find most convenient.
Crucially, CIMB leaders realise that they can’t do everything themselves to meet the needs of customers. Instead, they must connect with others. Through aggregation, interaction with customers becomes broader and richer and extends beyond banking, we want to help customers on their entire journey, including outside the narrow confines of what currently constitutes banking.
Partnering with service providers: Toss and Finhay, CIMB Bank Vietnam leads the digital innovation in this financial ecosystem. Tapping into technology and financial solution can allow participants to leverage one another’s strengths for mutual benefit.
In this age, digital banking is always been available to serve customers’ demand any time. It also become an assistant and secretary to remind, giving financial advice and become a close friend of customers.