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MB Bank: A Journey of Innovation and Sustainable Growth in Vietnam's Banking Landscape

Brand Finance
Mr Phạm Như Ánh
18 March 2024
Mr Phạm Như Ánh,
CEO of MB Bank

MB Bank’s brand value has been growing recently. In your opinion, what are vital moments and milestones in having built up the MB Bank brand?

Over the past three decades of formation and development, MB Bank (MB) has been transforming and springing up with bold, constant and persistent steps on the journey to assert its position as being not only a firm and reliable brand but constantly innovative, modern and sustainable development-oriented one as well. The MB brand value has gained an outstanding growth of more than 40% in the past four years, rising up to being among the Top 2 strongest brands in Vietnam in the Vietnam 2022 and 2023 reports and to the 227th position in Brand Finance’s Banking 500 2024 report.

2017 was a crucial turning point when MB embarked on a strategic shift with the goal of robust digital transformation and all-round customer-centered changes. This was the essential milestone in the strategy and vision to develop MB brand into “the most convenient bank” and being listed among the Top 5 Efficient and Safe Vietnamese Commercial Banks.

In 2019, MB continued launching a new brand identity to the public on our 25th anniversary of establishment, with a forward-moving star icon and the streamlined, modern and sturdy MB letter, creating the new impression of a digitalized, friendly bank and being ready for further advancement in the Vietnamese and international markets. The clearest proof that MB has become the most loved financial brand lies in the fact that the APP MBBank has reached the Top 10 most favorite applications on Apple’s App Store in Vietnam and the most downloaded App on the App Store in the country since 2020 for three successive years. MB is not only the leading bank in terms of technological strength and outstanding risk management but also the bank with the largest number of customers – 26 million customers in 2023, accounting for one-quarter of Vietnam's population. In 2023, MB was listed among the Top 10 brands with the highest sustainability perceptions in Vietnam, according to Brand Finance, thanks to our efforts to systematically, intensively and extensively deploy ESG strategies within the organisation.

I am so proud that MB is a brand that has held much attention and recall on our development journey. Entering 2024 – a significant milestone of MB's 30th anniversary, we are committed to creating outstanding value​ for customers, thanks to our ability to serve for and offer excellent service experiences and connect them on digital platforms to bring about convenience and satisfaction.

As a leading bank in Vietnam, MB Bank plays a key role in promoting the country’s green growth strategy. What is the bank doing to align with the national strategy in its desire to become the bank that provides sustainable financial services to serve the community?

With the desire to become a bank that provides sustainable financial services to serve the community, MB has been synchronously deploying the following specific actions and solutions:

  • Modernising infrastructure and information technology towards minimising negative impact on the environment: MB has set up a specialised committee on technology and digital transformation, improved our digital transformation capacity, heightened security, data safety, boosted customer experiences with continuous technological innovation, improved system operational efficiency, developed an utility ecosystem on the APP MBBank (App for individual customers) and BIZ MBBank (App for corporate customers) platforms as well as implemented cashless means of payments, reduction of note money circulation in the market so ~97% of transactions have been made on digital channels. In addition, automation of operations and digitalisation of internal processes with more than 90% of paperless internal operations at MB have been realised. We have also digitalised social charity activities on the MB Thien Nguyen Charity App to make the future transparent and sustainable. Up to now, the App has attracted ~1.1 million users, launched almost 3,800 campaigns and ~ VND 510 billion has been mobilised and funded for purposes of charity.
  • Mobilising green resources while the proportion of green debt balance has been increased with the build-up of internal regulations and close management of social and environmental risk to international standards: Techniques and resources should proactively be made available, ready and consolidated to receive international green capital; green economic tools should be applied to investment activities and lending to production – consumption projects (with a focus on fields and industries that MB identifies as being pivotal to the national green growth agenda). To this effect, loan deployment at MB is always ensured with basic principles of appraisal-approval, environmental and social risk assessment and post-loan risk monitoring to fulfill environmental and social responsibilities in credit granting activities.
  • MB has proactively transformed itself through building up and promulgating the Green Banking Strategic Framework upon the third level and gradually moved toward the fifth level with changes and updates of ESG factors in line with good international practices presented in the Code of Conducts and Labor Regulations; accomplishment of Internal Guidelines on Green Working Environment including measures and methods to save as well as make effective use of resources; arrangement of a green working environment and emission minimisation in MB's operations.
  • To enhance employees’ awareness of green growth, sustainable development and green credit through specialised training programs and communication of sustainable development to employees; to make sharing of community responsibility, and to make financial contributions to more than 100 Social Security programs, notably the HiGreen - Green Dawn Campaign.

In your opinion, what are some main trends in the banking industry in the next three years in Vietnam and what should MB Bank do to keep up with/leverage those trends?

In the context of increased challenges facing Vietnam’s economy, including climate change, post-pandemic recovery, geopolitical conflicts, high inflation, reduced consumer demand and unqualified policies and mechanisms for disbursement of public investment capital, the banking industry, as the lifeblood of the economy, needs to decisively and urgently act to contribute towards the nation’s economic stability and prosperity, environmental sustainability and social justice. In order to achieve this, MB identifies key trends in the banking industry as follows:

  • Digital revolution and the rise of Generative AI generation: rapid technological development has formed digital economies focusing on data production, collection and protection. This growth has brought about new opportunities and markets in the banking sector and simultaneously increased risks in regulations and cyber security.
  • The emergence of ethical standards: consumers have become increasingly vocal on environmental and social issues and are expecting companies to play an increasingly greater role in addressing these issues; along with crafting policies to levy carbon charges on major polluting countries. This trend will continue to accelerate when investment activities and world supply chains move towards the official application of environmental (E), social (S), and governance (G) standards as well as efforts for carbon reduction so that economies will continue to be multiplied.

In consideration of these trends, MB has made plans to:

  1. Convert ourself and orientate towards medium to long-term strategies to speed up the digital transformation process and apply AI to banking operations. Protect consumer interests, focus on customers, enhance their experiences and focus on providing values to customers and society; upgrade diversified sustainable financial products and services.
  2. Refine operations: systemise MB’s management structure for sustainable development of the group with a highly diverse and flexible management apparatus; apply ESG standards and practices to MB’s activities - products - services to adapt and cope with the climate change; improve the quality of ESG data management in a centralized and systematic way.
  3. Further promote international cooperation and mobilise international capital based on the Green Finance Framework. This includes looking into sustainable financing, investment in green, environmentally friendly fields and industries as well as sustainable products. Build-up a Climate Risk Management Framework to proactively identify, promptly assess and take actions against risks.
  4. Build a differentiated business and product model to increase revenues, optimise costs and boost up competitiveness to quickly grasp market shares.

About the Authors

Brand Finance is the world’s leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. Headquartered in the City of London, we are present in over 20 countries.

For almost 30 years we have helped companies and organisations of all types to connect their brands to the bottom line.

Mr Phạm Như Ánh is CEO of MB Bank.