Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Don't Bank on It

Vietnam Time 6:05 AM Wednesday
DC Time 7:05 AM Tuesday

Tuesday was a pretty low key day. We're starting to repeat a few of the types of companies that we are visiting. Today we met with two banks at either end of the spectrum; Deutsche Bank Vietnam and An Bihn Bank.

Deutsche Bank Vietnam started in 1992 and has brought much of its international experience to the Vietnam market. The common theme that frustrates them (along with most international players) is the lack of infrastructure within the economy, government and culture of Vietnam. Their major crisis is that Western investors don't feel they will generate any returns with the high inflations and low worker expertise (which they refer to here as human resources).

The gentleman who led our discussion is a GW MBA grad from 1981. He spoke about the haphazard regulations that the government is creating. Since this global banking market is so unknown, there are 15 new regulations each day. Many of them can contradict but the overall philosophy is "throw them out there and see what works best." He indicated that their bank must be responsive to changes and work to adapt even if the new laws seem ridiculous compared to other banking standards.

An Bihn Bank is one of the largest local banks with over 1 billion dollars in assets. However, you've probably already seen their limited capabilities just by clicking on the above link and finding their website under construction. This is the real Vietnam in action. We met with three of the top executives who proudly told of of their 50,000 individual customers and 5,000 corporate clients.

30% of their shares were purchased by Electricity of Vietnam (EVN), the main provider of electric power. This partnerships allows An Bihn Bank to do collections and bill paying for EVN's 12 million customers. (Most people pay bills in person since they don't have checking accounts or direct withdrawals.)

It was like visiting a US bank in the 40's & 50s. They prided themselves in being flexible and courteous. By being friendly, they will dominate the banking industry. The marketing plan this year is to put their logo on the electric statement for brand recognition. "The bill goes to millions of customers so they will all see our name and bank with us." We gave suggestions as to marketing by generational segments since needs are so varied at different points in ones life. We explained how that would allow them to teach people about the banking industry and what functions those people may use at their stage in life. It went completely over their heads.

Recently An Bihn sold 15% of its shares to the May Bank of Malaysia. Hopefully, the expertise from that foreign bank will help. This country is just ripe for someone to come in and dominate different markets within the next 10 years.

Last night was the Bonsai River Cruise. It was a dinner cruise along the Saigon river. The river itself itself is pretty nasty with military vessels and barges going up and down, but we all had a nice day of unwinding after a long day.

Meatheads and Mean Girls

Chess Club and Band Geeks

Rebecca, Stephanie & Shane

Katrina & me

Joe, Pete, John, Mike, Dave & Stacey



Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

At least everyone is smiling!

How much longer are you visiting? Are you eager to get home yet, or are you still grooving on the travel?

Stay safe, and don't eat any bad shrimp, wouldja? I don't think I can handle any more puke stories....

Love you!


7:59 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home