Self-Service Banking Asia 2020 – Vietnam in banking’s fast lane

With demand for banking services in Southeast Asia increasing rapidly as populations and economies grow, RBR’s flagship conference Self-Service Banking Asia 2020 will explore how innovation in banking can transform growth challenges into new opportunities. We caught up with Gillian Shaw, the conference producer, to find out more about the region’s hot topics and what we can expect from the event. 

Fintech Finance: Why will this year’s conference be hosted in Vietnam?

Gillian Shaw: We are really excited to be holding this year’s edition of the conference in Vietnam, not least because it is one of the world’s fast-growing economies, due to its expanding consumer market and stable political situation. 

Fintech Finance: Why is retail banking growing so quickly in the country?

Gillian Shaw: There’s lots of untapped potential; 69% of adults in Vietnam – or 50 million people – still don’t have a bank account. Vietnam is still a heavily cash-based society, with close to 99% of transactions conducted in cash, so the demand for other types of payments is growing with the economy. With all this in mind, the government has launched a number of financial inclusion measures over the last few years to expand cash and banking services to rural areas. 

Fintech Finance: Is Vietnam fintech friendly?

Gillian Shaw: Yes, absolutely! Vietnam is establishing itself as a hub of fintech innovation. There are currently around 100 fintechs operating in Vietnam and most of them are collaborating with banks. The government has been focusing on strengthening fintech in the country as it sees digital payments as a quick way of bringing payment services to the unbanked. Vietnam has a youthful population, a large number of smartphone owners and a rapidly expanding e-commerce sector – all of which are helping to set the pace of digitisation.

Fintech Finance: What exactly do you mean by ‘self-service’?

Gillian Shaw: While self-service banking used to just mean the more traditional options like ATMs and banking kiosks, it now includes a real mix of different banking channels including internet and mobile. Customer behaviour is changing largely due to the impact of smartphones; bank customers expect to be able to transact as and when they choose.

Fintech Finance: What are the most exciting innovations coming out of the Southeast Asia region?

Gillian Shaw: The region is home to many innovative industry players who are adding state-of-the-art functionalities to ATMs such as biometrics, recycling and cardless cash withdrawal. Digital self-service banking solutions are also evolving quickly, as fintechs race to capitalise on growing consumer demand. With the region’s population still heavily cash reliant, banks are looking for next generation cash distribution models to take banking to the masses. Other forms of payment, particularly QR code payments, which are so already so big in China, are taking off in Southeast Asia as merchants pick up on the low cost of adoption.

Fintech Finance: And what makes Self-Service Banking Asia unique?

Gillian Shaw: The banks at our Asian conference always bring an unparalleled level of enthusiasm with them, making the most of this unique opportunity to learn from each other and explore first-hand the latest technology. With significant growth challenges in the region, banks are keen to discuss best practices for extending digital offering and refining self-service strategies. 

Fintech Finance: What are the hot topics on this year’s agenda?

Topics on the agenda include financial inclusion, big data, branch transformation, customer experience, omnichannel and digital transformation. Thought leaders from institutions such as Bank Indonesia, Maybank, LANDBANK, HSBC, Barclays, CIBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Bank Muamalat, soCash and Krungsri Finnovate will be giving their expert opinions on the region’s innovations. The conference also has a dynamic exhibition area, showcasing the latest self-service banking technology from leading international suppliers.

Fintech Finance: When is the conference taking place and how can we find out more?

Gillian Shaw: Self-Service Banking Asia 2020 takes place at the Windsor Plaza Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on 18th and 19th March 2020. For more information about how to get involved either as an exhibitor, speaker or delegate, please email me directly on gillian.shaw@rbrlondon.com or visit www.rbrlondon.com/ssba 

Author: Yash Hirani

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