The Silicon Review
Established in 1994, the Southeast Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SeABank) is one of the first Vietnamese commercial joint stock banks. The esteemed organization provides a wide range of products and services to its customers including credit cards, insurance, internet banking, and many other services.
SeABank’s outstanding and unique performance is achieved by virtue of its holistic approach. For the last five years, the bank has been pulling ahead by pioneering in several areas. SeABank has achieved substantial expansion in recent years and has made significant contributions to the economy. SeABank is currently considered as one of 17 credit institutions with a significant impact on the Vietnamese banking industry in 2021.
SeABank places special emphasis on reaching out to women and their families with its services. “Our permission is to become the most favorite retail bank,” said Lê Thu Thủy, General Director of SeABank. SeABank is now providing a variety of card solutions for individual consumers (including credit and debit cards) as well as launching excellent digital account services to acquire clients. SeABank also works on improving the SeAMobile digital banking application in the most efficient way possible in order to reach out to more customers and satisfy their needs in the digital era. SeABank recognizes that each customer’s decision is a critical aspect in the company’s growth. The Bank’s next five-year plans include a focus on customer experience.
In a brief interview, Ms.Thủy elaborated on the bank’s performance in 2020 and its vision for the future. Read on for the excerpts from the interview.
Q. Tell us in brief about the convenience and economical factor of your business.
For sustainable development, SeABank focuses on digitalization, customer experience, team capacity enhancement with five pillars of risk management, including technology investment; customer development; human resource development and organizational culture.
These five pillars will create a solid foundation for the Bank to ensure compliance with the highest standards, and continue to be the pioneer in technology application. At the same time, SeABank also builds a working environment associated with highly competitive welfare and its own corporate culture.
In 2020, despite challenges posed to Vietnam economy by COVID-19 pandemic, SeABank managed to develop well thanks to our synchronous and flexible implementation of different solutions. The bank’s pre-tax profit reached nearly $75.1 million, up by 24% compared to 2019, completing 115% of the budget; total assets reached $7.82 billion, up by 14.5%; total outstanding loans in market1 reached $4.73 billion, up 10.5%; total mobilization in market1 reached $4.92 billion, up by 18%; NPL ratio is maintained at only 1.86%.
Q. Financial institutions are known for following rigid rules for granting loans. Too many formalities make the procedure time-consuming. How do you make your services simpler for clients to the procedures?
With the motto of being customer-centric, SeABank builds products and services based on the actual needs of customers in the direction of simplicity, practicality, accessibility and optimal benefits. With the launch of SeAMobile application, now, all financial transactions can be securely conducted anytime, anywhere – including loans. Customers can track their loan granting process on the application.
Besides, SeABank has also deployed the virtual assistant system using artificial intelligence, which helps the Bank to automatically remind each customer when loan payment is due, and enables automatic two-way interaction with customers to receive information on payment time, form of payment, confirmation of payment status. This optimizes operations, especially at peak times, automates processes, and helps us focus our human resources on more complex and important tasks while providing outstanding customer services such as consulting and answering questions in the shortest time, 24/7.
SeABank also focuses on managing the whole client journey at the bank via digital and physical channels, particularly on the Digital Convergence platform. Customers purchase services based on their preference for the Bank if they have a great customer experience.
Q. Tell us about your cash management system.
SeABank is now using cash flow management for two purposes: risk management and actual management to optimize the Balance Sheet. The following is an example:
For long-term risk management, SeABank has implemented the ALM system, which allows the bank to track and manage cash flow by term in a comprehensive and international manner. In the near future, SeABank intends to continue developing and perfecting the behavioral model analysis system to maximize capital management while assuring liquidity and interest rate risk management. These are also the key strategies for implementing the 4.0 banking paradigm.
For the purpose of short-term cash flow management to optimize the Balance Sheet: We will estimate the source demand and use the source in a short time (=7 days) from which the most optimal solution for the Bank can be found based on the maturity information of some key items of the Balance Sheet extracted from the ALM system combined with source-source information from the BOS.
Q. How do you secure your solutions without increasing the complexity of the financial activities?
Considering digitalization as an important pillar in the bank’s development, SeABank has adopted digital banking software to optimize the Bank’s operations. SeABank secures domestic and international card lines by standard EMV chip technology - the world’s leading security solution and 3D Secure for online payment transactions (e-commerce/online payment) at e-commerce websites applying Verified by Visa program.
In addition, SeABank has deployed the SeAMobile digital banking with outstanding features, especially eKYC, integrated artificial intelligence and eKYC into the SeATeller system to enhance experience and reduce transaction time. AI and eKYC technology facilitate authenticating during counter transactions, thereby reducing unnecessary processes, increasing customer experience and ensuring security during transactions.
Q. How do you define the current global financial landscape?
In 2020, the socio-economic situation was grim as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all
aspects of life. However, the banking industry has done well. Along with the state-owned banks, joint stock commercial banks have built scenarios to maintain their growth momentum in times of volatility.
Q. Which industry verticals do you target and why?
SeABank focuses on promoting the development of insurance distribution in cooperation with Prudential. We will soon launch insurance packages for businesses as well as online insurance products.
SeABank also focuses on lending, giving maximum support to those in need of mortage, working capital loans while offering a variety of card products with competitive advantages in the market.
Q. How do you gain the necessary insights to create new banking solutions?
As customer experience is high on SeABank’s agenda, the Bank bases itself on customer surveys, products and services to best meet their needs. For SeABank, customer experience is not only about properly and fully meeting customer requirements, but also managing and personalizing customers’ emotions. Accordingly, SeABank constantly creates a service culture to cater to all customer requests. Besides, we are constantly improving operations and the quality of tellers, switchboard staff, and even the security guards.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
In the coming time, with the goal of increasing utilities and customer experience, SeABank will continue to upgrade and add more features to SeAMobile application such as loans, investment, other utilities and identification. We will also add biometric functions at counters or use callbot, chatbot to care and market with customers. The digitization is not only adopted in customers’ products but also in daily internal operations such as process automation, e-office across the system, AI technology in analysis and data collection.
Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?
We would like to become the most prominent or the most favorite bank in Vietnam. Between 2020 and 2025, we aim to reach 5.2 million customers and become a leading bank in terms of contribution to the community, quality of services, e-transactions, and insurance.
SeABank will strengthen its digital banking, making financial transactions available online anytime, anywhere, and continuing to develop conventional products to fulfill customers’ demands and interests to the best extent possible.
The Charismatic Leader
Ms Lê Thu Thủy, GD
Ms Lê Thu Thủy was appointed as the GD of SeABank in 2018 after 10 years of service at the bank. She has held different positions at the bank before her appointment as the GD. Ms. Thủy has ample experience with international financial and banking institutions, providing unique solutions.