Retail banks prepare strategies to serve nation's poor

Thursday, May 22, 2014 08:33

A customer carries out a transaction at a bank in Ha Noi. Banks plan to provide more banking serivces for local customers. — VNS Photo Doan Tung

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Regional retail banks need to cooperate more closely to tackle challenges, puzzle the mass market and promote microfinance so as to serve the underprivileged population better.

The message was among the key themes of the 20th World Savings Bank Institute (WSBI) Asia Pacific Region Group Meeting held yesterday by WSBI and LienVietPostBank in Ha Noi. The two-day annual meeting gathered 80 bankers, managers and financial activists from 20 countries in Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

Creating access to financial services is recognised as a big challenge to retail banks because half of the people living in the Asian-Pacific region do not have accounts at official financial institutions.

Bankers were urged to explore innovative business models such as mobile banking, mobile money, e-payment and postal savings banks to facilitate exchange of experience and international best practices to innovate and broaden the product range in rural areas.

In Viet Nam, about 70 per cent of the Vietnamese population lived in rural areas, where accesses to financial services were limited, noted State Bank of Viet Nam's Deputy Governor Nguyen Toan Thang.

He argued that it was imperative to develop microfinance and carry out reforms to create equality and fairness for everyone.

Nguyen Duc Huong, LienVietPostBank's Permanent Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, stated that the development perspective in the rural area agriculture was potential.

LienVietPostBank invests 40 per cent of capital into this sector and provides credit to creditworthy borrowers through postal facilities and local veterans associations. Huong noted that this sector held no bad debts.

Today, the meeting will discuss the integration of banking system in the ASEAN Economic Community, which will be launched next year.

WSBI is an international retail banking association that brings together 108 retail banks and associations from 83 countries across the world. — VNS

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