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Digital Transformation in Vietnam’s Banking Sector

Through a series of newly issued regulations and access to the national population database, banks are preparing to enhance their online money-lending services. According to Deputy Governor Pham Tien Dung of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), the utilisation of the national population database will enable banks to conveniently verify and authenticate the information of new customers, streamlining the process.

Commercial banks will promote lending services on their electronic platforms based on this database. The proposed amendments to the Law on Credit Institutions contain numerous regulations that specifically address banking services conducted through electronic devices.

For quite some time, many banks have been providing online lending services, primarily for small loans. However, the legal status of this lending model has not been explicitly defined in the law. As a result, banks have been engaging in online lending with concerns that the lending contracts may be deemed invalid in the event of a legal dispute.

Furthermore, banks have been hesitant to promote online lending due to the presence of a significant volume of junk data and virtual accounts. With the establishment of the national population database, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has collaborated with the Ministry of Public Security to authenticate 25 million customers in the credit information database. SBV aims to verify the remaining 26 million customers within the coming months.

Possessing such a vast pool of clean customer data presents banks with a valuable opportunity to promote digital services and products, particularly online lending. Granting banks access to the population database, coupled with the establishment of a comprehensive legal framework for digital banking, represents a significant opportunity for the banking industry to experience robust growth in the future. A well-defined legal framework and a reliable database serve as the fundamental pillars for enabling all banks to operate effectively within the digital landscape.

Previously, banks exercised caution in engaging in online lending due to the presence of unverified and unreliable information within the customer database. Another problem is the automatic credit appraisal and approval due to data limitations and unclear legal basis. Furthermore, the lack of comprehensive customer information posed difficulties in effectively collecting debts.

Accessing the national population database and implementing an automated appraisal and approval mechanism allow state-owned joint-stock commercial banks to address these issues. It enables individuals to conveniently obtain online banking loans at reasonable interest rates.

The traditional lending process involved multiple steps and consumed significant time and human resources. However, with the extensive customer data available to banks and the national population database, there is a hope to enhance the speed of loan processing procedures and strengthen risk management measures. This advancement allows for more efficient lending operations, reducing delays and streamlining the overall process.

Several banks have coordinated with the Police Department for Administrative Management of Social Order (C06) under the Ministry of Public Security to start testing a citizen credit scoring system based on population data. As an initial step, banks intend to offer unsecured loans for small amounts using the citizen credit scoring system. This approach will promote the retail lending of the banks.

To ensure a seamless integration between the banking system, VNeID (the electronic identification application), and the citizen credit scoring system, it is crucial for the Ministry of Public Security to promptly update the population data. State management agencies must also adjust relevant legal provisions to create favourable conditions for providing loans in the digital environment.


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