At KieuKy village, KieuKy commune, Gia Lam district, Hanoi city, there are 39 households being beneficiaries of the credit programmeprovided by the Vietnam Bank forSocial Policies (VBSP). The borrowers are mostly women who need capital for their investment in production of gold leaves for gilding and leather. The KieuKysavings and capital-borrowing group often updates information, trains members to check notification messages on their mobile phones in order to timely remind the members when maturity dates come. Thanks to their effort, the total debts of nearly 1.5 billion dongs are stillcontrolled out of overdue status.
Vu Thi Thanh Huyen, Head of the KieuKysavings and capital-borrowing groupaffirmed that the regular notification messages help members update information on the maturity dates and balance of their saving and borrowing accounts.
Besides, the group head saves time for urging members to repay their due debts. Therefore, there have not been any payment delays or overdue debts.
Statistics recently issued by the World Bank show that only 8% of Vietnamese adults use their mobile phones for banking services. This figure is quite modest compared to other countries like China (40%), Malaysia (33%), Thailand (17%)... That is not to mention in Vietnam, poor people have no access to many mobile banking services.
Talking about some difficulties in accessing and using some financial products and services, Pham Xuan Hoe, Deputy Director of the Banking Strategy Institute(under the State Bank of Vietnam) pointed out two obvious basic problems, namely the limited channels of banking services to people in remote areas, and the available products designed by financial providers, which are not really simple and appropriate for local people.
“Another difficulty is that banking transactions often require interacting confirmation among financial institutions. Thus limited connection among financial institutions hinders the opening of savings or borrowing accounts, money transfer, insurance purchase….of local people, especially the poor, in remote areas”, Hoe said.
Luu Thi Thao, Deputy Director of the Information Technology Centre under the VBSPrevealed that in the coming time, the VBSPwill continue its pilot service of Mobile Banking which facilitates transactions via mobile phones to 850 heads of savings and capital-borrowing groups(with over 30,000 members as borrowers). This aims to create the most favourable conditions for the poor to access mobile banking services.
“With roughly 130 million mobile phone subscribers over the country, the VBSP’s digital banking application on mobile phones will contribute to the fulfillment of the targets set in the national strategy for financial inclusion which has been under construction by the State Bank of Vietnam, and planned to be submitted to the Government for approval by the end of this year”, Thao added.
She also shared that the national strategy for financial inclusion will assist all adults and enterprises in accessing and easily using financial products and services,which are responsibly and sustainably provided by official financial institutions, to meet their demand at reasonable costs.
The State Bank of Vietnam recognized that the percentage of adult account holders in Vietnam is still rather low compared to other countries like Malaysia, China, Thailand. In order to raise this percentage, the State Bank of Vietnam has been building a national strategy for financial inclusion, which highlights the active role of banks and microfinance institutions in applying digital technology to their services. The ultimate goal is to provide full access and best usage of financial products and services to all people, especially the poor.