Techcombank appoints independent board member to enhance customer trust

By Thy An   May 6, 2024 | 09:00 pm PT
Eugene Keith Galbraith, former BCA senior executive, joins Techcombank to enhance customer trust and help the bank become a regional leader and customer choice partner.

Embarking on a new journey as an independent director at Vietnam-based Techcombank, Eugene Keith Galbraith recalled the first time he came to Vietnam in 2018–2019 with "happiness but no special expectation."

Vietnam gave him a sense of comfort through its culture and business environment.

Throughout his 40-year career, Galbraith’s roles in the finance industry have included vice president commissioner of PT Bank NISP Tbk, managing director of ABN AMRO Asia, and senior advisor to the Indonesian Ministry of Finance.

Eugene Keith Galbraith, former BCA senior executive, new independent board member of Techcombank. Photo courtesy of Techcombank

Eugene Keith Galbraith, former BCA senior executive, new independent board member of Techcombank. Photo courtesy of Techcombank

Building a business of trust

Galbraith was thrilled with Techcombank’s offer to join the organization as an independent board member.

"I jumped at it. This is a great opportunity for me to learn about a new and dynamic country and also become part of Techcombank's success story," he said.

An avid reader, Galbraith suggested Marshall McLuhan’s book "Understanding Media," in which the late author said it was not the content but the modality of delivery that mattered in modern media.

"It's very relevant to digital banking services because what you want to develop is not just profitable relationships but sticky relationships. That's where digital transformation has to be managed very carefully," Galbraith said.

While it is common knowledge that digital tools help with cost savings and efficiency, to Galbraith, it is all about trust.

He says it's very important that banks maintain a warm rather than a cool medium where there's no loyalty and the intimacy between the consumers and the products is lost.

The leadership team at Techcombank shares his philosophy. The bank has streamlined its processes, front-end and back-end, to offer simplified, convenient features and make transactions just one click away, while ensuring security at its best.

In 2023, Techcombank acquired 2.6 million new customers, an increase in new bank customers of 230% compared to the previous year, and almost half of these came through online channels.

The bank has a customer-centric strategy, and digital engagement plays a key part in this approach, with 94% of retail transactions conducted online and about 88% of corporate customers active on digital platforms last year.

New and revamped customer value propositions introduced during 2023 helped to make Techcombank the primary banking relationship of its customers.

In the application of data to deliver better customer experiences, Techcombank has leveraged the most innovative technologies and capabilities to build its proprietary data platform, or "data lake," which Galbraith described as "leading-edge, advanced, and praiseworthy."

The banking expert was impressed by how Techcombank was not just collecting data but also analyzing it to build a more holistic understanding of its customers, provide tailored value propositions, and link it to the latest AI technologies to provide hyper-personalized customer experiences.

Galbraith believes being convenient, secure, and reliable is the key to the success of a digital banking platform. As long as banks have the same interests as their customers and deliver a secure, easy-to-access platform, they will excel as the bank of choice, explained Galbraith.

"That will also put your bank in a very strong competitive position to drive CASA because customers seek a value that is not strictly monetary when they leave their hard-earned money with you," he said.

Widening perspectives

Galbraith was impressed with how Techcombank remains open and receptive to new ideas even after achieving astonishing growth and success in recent years.

In addition to a strong domestic workforce, Techcombank has also welcomed a great number of foreign experts and overseas Vietnamese who have chosen to return to contribute to their country.

For instance, in 2023, the bank held a talent roadshow in Sydney to seek the "hard-earned talent" working in that financial center.

Domestic and international perspectives make a winning combination for the banks success, Galbraith commented.

Eugene Keith Galbraith, new independent board member of Techcombank, speaks about the bank's success. Photo courtesy of Techcombank

He pledges to offer his experience and perspectives on how the bank isoperating, giving his opinion on areas to improve or where the bank can continue to do more.

From his perspective, the participation of any individual in the formulation of a company’s strategy is like making a soup. While the whole thing becomes delicious, it's hard to point to any individual spice as the key success factor.

His longstanding and extensive knowledge of the financial market in Indonesia, a country witnessing the same pace of growth and demographics as Vietnam, is very relevant to the journey Techcombank is on.

Even though Vietnam’s banking industry is at an earlier stage than Indonesia’s, Techcombank’s growth strategy and drivers have many parallels with his former bank.

For example, Galbraith helped BCA strengthen its position in the mass affluent and affluent customer segments, which are also the focus of Techcombank.

"It’s a wise decision," he called out. "And it's a big market. Vietnam is home to 100 million people, and there's no need to bank everybody."

Yet Techcombank is already in a position of strength. Its sustained profitability, balance sheet strength, and asset quality have demonstrated the success of its customer-centric strategy, the progress of its digital transformation, and the robustness of its business model.

The way to continue this success, he added, lies in how the bank constructs its business in such a way that it can provide the best services at the lowest risk with the highest returns.

Galbraith brings vast experience and knowledge of the banking industry to Techcombank’s board.

Most recently, he spent 17 years with Bank Central Asia (BCA), one of Indonesia’s leading banks, where he served as President Commissioner and then Vice President Director.

Prior to that, he was an advisor to the Indonesian Ministry of Finance and Managing Director of ABN AMRO Asia.

Given the similarities between Techcombank and BCA in terms of business model, affluent customer focus, CASA leadership, and digital innovation, Galbraith is expected to help Techcombank further strengthen its corporate governance and accelerate its digital transformation to become a leader in the region.

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