Open Banking in Vietnam Is On Track to Become Widely-Adopted, but Lags Behind More Developed Southeast Asian Countries

Vietnamese banks are becoming a lot more aware of Open Banking policies and are beginning to realize that they should look into leveraging open APIs in order to remain relevant in the evolving digital financial services sector.

There are at least two local banks in Vietnam that have introduced developer portals and are now offering open APIs. The Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) and Orient Commercial Joint Stock Bank (OCB) in Vietnam have developed Open Banking solutions (that went live in January of last year).

Vietnam’s Saigon Commercial Bank (SBC) says that it will introduce Open Banking guidelines, meanwhile, Techcombank has been focused on educating financial professionals on the benefits of effectively and responsibly sharing financial data.

State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) data reveals that nearly 95% of banks in the country are working on some type of digital technology initiative, of which around 35% of banking institutions are actually moving forward with a proper digital transformation strategy.

Although Open Banking is now being offered in the UK, the EU and Australia (where regulations have now been introduced), the financial data-sharing practice is a new concept in countries like Thailand and Vietnam. As first reported by Fintech News, the Vietnamese reserve bank has been looking into forming partnerships with key players in order to work on new financial regulations or policies.

In Vietnam, the SBV has been focused on digitalization efforts in the Southeast Asian country’s banking and financial services sector. The SBV Fintech Steering Committee was formed in 2017 in order to encourage digital innovation, especially in digital KYC processes, P2P lending, virtual payments, blockchain or DLT and open APIs as well.

The SBV has teamed up with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DAFT), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to support Fintech innovation which includes implementing open APIs, and are also committed to establishing regulatory guidelines to support new banking solutions.

Vietnam’s reserve bank is reportedly updating regulations in order to provide a comprehensive set of guidelines for Fintechs while encouraging and supporting digitalization of the banking sector, according to SBV Governor Le Minh Hung.

Hung confirmed that the regulatory agency is working on a new law for supporting a Fintech sandbox in the banking industry.

When compared to more developed Southeast Asian nations like Malaysia and Singapore, Vietnam is still behind when it comes to Fintech adoption and Open Banking solutions (for now at least).

However, the country has been steadily working on various initiatives in order to establish a more efficient financial ecosystem. In October 2018, Vietnam signed an MoU with the Koreaan National IT Industry Promotion Agency and Korea Financial Telecommunications and Clearings Institute in order to create an Open API for the banking industry.

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