Standard Chartered’s sustainability mission

16:01 | 31/12/2019
Through its century-long journey in Vietnam, UK-backed Standard Chartered has built a strong business in the country and aspires to take it to even greater heights by capitalising on its award-winning capabilities.  
standard chartereds sustainability mission
Standard Chartered Vietnam has again completed another year by taking home a slew of industry awards

It was a special year for Standard Chartered in Vietnam in 2019, not only because it marked the lender’s 115 years in the country, but also saw the bank significantly strengthen its foundation for further growth.

“As a leading international bank in Vietnam, we position ourselves as a catalyst for the country’s socio-economic development. We are doing so by building a strong franchise that helps to attract foreign direct investment, facilitate Vietnam’s participation in global and regional trade and supply chains, and support Vietnamese people to achieve their aspirations and connect with the world,” Nirukt Sapru, CEO of Vietnam and ASEAN and South Asia Cluster Markets at Standard Chartered, told VIR.

The Vietnamese franchise provides world-class banking services across a broad range of segments including multinational corporations, financial institutions and institutional clients, small- and medium-sized enterprises, local corporate, and retail clients.

Standard Chartered also upheld its role in Vietnam by bolstering overseas investment pouring in the country, as well as domestic businesses participating in global supply chains via the award-winning platform Straight2Bank system that allows clients seamless access to the benefits of e-commerce and mobile payments.

Besides that, it also contributes to the progress of the domestic capital market, acting as the placement agent for numerous VND-denominated guaranteed bond issuances for enterprises.

Dedicated to supporting global aspirations of the Vietnamese people, the bank’s thriving Retail Banking business brings together highly interactive and engagement products along with an innovative, digitally-led business model, to deliver an award-winning proposition to meet the needs of Vietnam’s affluent and emerging-affluent clients.

Building on its strong performance, the lender has enhanced its investment to support the expansion of its Vietnam’s business and continue to bring cutting-edge technology to delight its clients.

2019 also marked an important milestone for the bank, as it completed a Tier-2 capital injection of approximately VND2.3 trillion ($100 million) in August, which came on the back of a Tier-1 capital increase of around VND1.1 trillion ($49 million) in 2018.

In addition to a second year in a row being named the Best International Bank in Vietnam by Asiamoney, the international lender has also had its business excellence recognised in 2019 at industry awards, including Best Foreign Retail Bank in Vietnam by International Business Magazine, and Excellence in Digital Innovation by Digital Banker Online, among others.

With a digital focus

As a country with over 75.7 million internet users and 48.6 million mobile internet users expected by 2023, according to global data provider Statista, Vietnam offers an ideal environment for digital banking services to thrive.

“Since the world has become increasingly digital and connected, we continue to concentrate on our strengths - a broad international network and deep local roots - to deliver high standards of service, combined with the latest technologies: a digital bank with a human touch,” Sapru emphasised.

Investing in digital banking and data analytics has been part of the British multinational’s strategic focus to offer clients a superior banking experience.

In Standard Chartered’s quest to keep up with the ever-evolving trends and stay ahead of the game, the group launched SC Ventures, a business unit to implement and promote disruptive business models. The idea is for the bank and other fintech as well as startups to more efficiently stay relevant in the long run. The bank has also introduced to Vietnam a wide range of innovative digital services to provide easy and convenient banking solutions such as the Mobile Banking app, Good Life app, and Biometric Safety Deposit Locker.

Recently, the lender revamped its world-class SC Mobile Banking application to offer clients a seamless banking experience through a lively interface and virtual security tokens.

According to Harmander Mahal, head of Retail Banking at Standard Chartered Vietnam, the footprint in more than 60 of the fastest-growing markets around the world allows the lender to tap into the best innovations around the globe and ensure that every innovation is based on both external and client insights.

“We’re evolving in sync with our clients’ fast-paced and digitally connected lives and seek to continue innovating and improving our service quality to better serve the evolving demands of our clients,” noted Mahal.

And thrive along with community

Besides running a sustainable business, Standard Chartered is proactively working to make a difference in the community by tackling issues that may hinder sustainable social and economic development.

“Community investment is a key focus of the bank’s commitment to Vietnam. We believe that the long-term success of our business depends on the health and prosperity of the communities in which we operate,” Sapru highlighted.

The bank wrapped up 2019 accomplishing an impactful Financial Education programme for students in the northern province of Hoa Binh and the southern province of Binh Phuoc. The programme provided basic financial knowledge such as effective financial management and financial responsibility, as well as how to start and invest in a business to help students better prepare for their future. A total of 1,100 students benefited from the programme.

Seeing is Believing, the bank’s global initiative to tackle avoidable blindness and visual impairment, has meanwhile provided eye-screening services for more than three million Vietnamese people so far, conducted over 47,000 eye surgeries, and presented over 34,600 pairs of spectacles to people in need. To widen the impact of Seeing is Believing, Standard Chartered has launched a new project that aims at providing sustainable comprehensive eye care services for residents in the northern city of Haiphong and Quang Ninh province through the development of vison care centres equipped with modern facilities and well-trained staff.

The bank also runs the Goal initiative, which is currently operating in more than 20 countries, to empower adolescent girls with financial education, life skills, and work training. Through sport and activity-based learning, the programme delivers modules on financial education, communication skills, health and hygiene, and self-confidence. Goal has benefited over 25,000 locals since its launch in Vietnam in 2014 and will carry on in the years to come.

Recently, Standard Chartered launched a new community investment initiative named Futuremakers as part of the attempt to tackle inequality and promote greater economic inclusion for young people in its global communities, including in Vietnam, with an ambition to raise $50 million by 2023 to empower the next generation to learn, earn, and grow.

A project is being deployed in the northern mountainous province of Lao Cai which aims at enhancing access to livelihood opportunities for ethnic minorities through skills training, career orientation, and support for business initiatives.

By Mai Huong

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