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Vietnam's best digital bank 2018: Citi


Digital banking, a slow burn in Vietnam, finally seems to have taken flame. In recent years, domestic banks have been frantically rolling out new online services to demanding customers. Some of these underwhelm, while others, such as privately run VPBank’s digital channel Timo, impress. But none can hold a candle to Citi. The US lender, a growing digital force across Asia, clearly sees Vietnam as a key part of its regional strategy. It uses its local Facebook page (launched four years ago and with 190,000 fans) to target customers and reinforce its brand, then focus on the sale (the digital contribution to Citi’s credit card acquisition rate rose 29% year on year in 2017).

Elsewhere, Citi has embedded itself into customers’ daily routines, launching a partnership with ride-sharing platform Grab and e-commerce group Lazada Group in six southeast Asian markets, including Vietnam. Downloads of Citi’s mobile app rose 78% year on year in 2017, with use of the application up 87%.

The bank continues to work hard to ensure that a conversation that begins on one digital platform can finish seamlessly on another, be it tablet, desktop or mobile phone – the latter being the fastest-growing digital channel at Citi Vietnam.

Talking to Asiamoney in Ho Chi Minh City, Natasha Ansell, country officer at Citi Vietnam, said that of the bank’s 140,000 retail customers, about 80% use its various digital banking channels. It continues to improve and expand its mobile offering, with pre-approved loans to Citi credit card and Ready Credit customers who apply via their cellphone or computer.

With Citi constantly rolling out new online services that can easily be adapted to other markets, the bank looks well set to remain a leading digital bank both here and regionally for years to come.

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