Mr. Jeremy Chen, Acting CEO of SCB, talked with the Saigon Times about the priority agenda for reconstructing and transforming the bank he is at the helm now.
Q.: SCB has been considered one of the largest joint-stock commercial banks in Vietnam in terms of total asset. This bank is also in full swing to reconstruct itself. As Acting CEO of SCB, how would you identify the challenges and opportunities for the bank?
A.: SCB’s missions is to achieve growth and control risk at the same time. This is also a focus in the transformation plan where we align the restructuring process with our transformation and sustainable development strategy for 2020 – 2030.
I think most of SCB’s challenges are believed to be short-term. At SCB, we place emphasis on finding long-term solutions. Of course, it’s impossible not to mention the lingering Covid-19 pandemic and the natural disasters resulting in human and property losses across Vietnam. At SCB, we have the expertise in strategy analysis. We also apply the PESTEL model to offer stable solutions for the development roadmap of the bank.
The good news is that Vietnam is of great political stability, which has been proven by the way the country has been able to control the pandemic. In addition, the banking system here receives timely support from the State Bank of Vietnam that has issued solutions and guidance suitable for the new environment for banking industry. In my opinion, SCB’s current challenge is to grab the upcoming opportunities. Moreover, SCB also needs to come up with solutions to raise equity in line with the Basel II requirement.
In addition, our challenges relate to improving the service quality, strengthening risk control systems and focusing on safe products. We will work with our corporate customers to overcome difficulties and get ready for the recovery in early next year. The bank’s incomes will shift to a more sustainable direction to diversify our revenues to the categories of cards, bancassurance, payment services, and consultation of trade and finance solutions, among others.
We are also aiming to transform to be more attractive to young generations of customers, who are the future of the financial services industry.
Regarding technologies, SCB hopes to apply new technologies and models in managing the operation of the bank. We are also focusing on building a digital transformation strategy to enhance customer experiences.
What are the keys SCB needs to fulfill by the end of 2020 and next year?
The top priority is to strengthen the bank’s management and operational structure. We are in the process of developing and implementing a combination of short-term and long-term strategies to strengthen our team. In the short term, we aim to attract more talents from financial institutions as well as prestigious domestic and international consulting organizations to deepen the knowledge for the management team. At the same time, together with the renowned consulting firms, we will focus on improving training programs to provide our staff with operational and business skills. Furthermore, policies on KPI performance evaluation are being reviewed and adjusted simultaneously. In the long run, we will put emphasis on the development of career path for each member in the SCB family.
The second priority is to diversify products, and be customer centric. We are seeking strategic partners to work on each product category to provide SCB’s customers with product packages which are competitive.
Regarding banking technology, we are working with the leading technology experts in the banking sector to plan, design and implement smart banking platform which will optimize the operation process. This project will be implemented in Q4 and we will see clearer results in 2021.
And one of the most crucial point is strengthening risk management. As a senior banker with international banking background, my top priority is to tighten the risk management to offer strong protection to our customers and SCB.
Currently, viewpoints on banking restructuring in Vietnam differ greatly. Some people believe that banks must take careful steps at the beginning. Others believe banks should accelerate operation right after completing restructuring. What would you say about this?
I think we can move faster ahead provided we have clear strategic direction. This is why I focus on dealing with financial issues to improve our bank’s financial health and work closely with McKinsey, the world-leading strategic consulting firm, to develop a professional and solid strategic direction to ensure the effective implementation of the bank’s transformation strategy.
Please share some of your opinions about the financial and money market in Vietnam? Is the current state of international financial markets and Vietnamese money market favorable to SCB’s restructuring?
I have a strong belief in the potential of the Vietnamese market, especially the financial market. In fact, when looking at Vietnam, I can see a “rising star” in the global economy. I think SCB has an opportunity to become one of the leading banks in Vietnam. With its extensive network in 28 major cities/provinces, we want to maximize our advantages through clear tactics in our future business and apply these advantages to complete SCB’s restructuring project.