Vietnam in urgent need for national financial inclusion strategy

14:55 | 25/01/2018 Finance - Banking

Vietnam is in urgent need for a national strategy on financial inclusion, which is in line with the country’s socio-economic development strategy, according to Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Nguyen Kim Anh.

A women withdraws money from an ATM - Photo: VNA

Financial inclusion has become a global issue, and is considered the key to address poverty reduction and social inequality, Anh noted.

According to the SBV, Vietnam has seen a low financial inclusion rate with about half of the population not having a bank account. In far-flung and difficult-to-reach areas, where banks have difficulties in opening transaction offices, many people even have no idea about financial services. The situation is also partly attributable to high service fees and complicated account opening process.

Though the country’s financial and banking system has made huge progress in recent years, not all people and businesses have benefited from the development. Agriculture is one of three backbones of the economy, but the sector receives just 10 percent of total bank loans.

To address the problems, adjustments to policies and legal framework are required to make it easier for people and businesses to access official basic financial services.

According to the SBV Deputy Governor, international experience showed that countries with national financial inclusion strategies (NFIS) better achieved goals on financial inclusion. About 35 countries worldwide have announced their NFISs and some 25 others are developing their own ones.

Anh said the SBV is formulating a NFIS with a comprehensive approach, which sees financial inclusion as providing people and businesses with access and usage of a diverse set of basic financial services, including credit, payment, money transfer, savings, lending and insurance that are convenient and affordable.

Financial experts also stressed that a successful implementation of the NFIS will require an effective coordination between the government and private sectors, as seen from the experience of regional countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Theo VNA