For Mr. Nguyen Le Quoc Anh, it’s the human who takes the central factor in helping the bank conquer its goals after 25 years developing in the market.
During the first six months of this year, the Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Techcombank) recorded a big interest of VND 5,196 billion, having increased 90% comparing to the same period and reached the top of the most profitable private joint stock banks after two quarters.
However, from Mr Nguyen Le Quoc Anh’s point of view, the figures are not immutable, though any position is only a temporary destination because the progress never stops. During the talk, our CEO have mentioned about the human factor many times. He was always excited and at some points, showed his pride of the talents that the bank owned. According to his sharing, those are the people who have already had enough strength and enthusiasm to conquer new peaks.
How do you feel when Techcombank is leading the private commercial banks in terms of business performance?
- To Techcombank, after 25 years, if being compared with other banks starting at the same time, we can be proud that we are on par with them or even better in some criteria and we have ranked among the best banks in Vietnam.
Talking about the numbers of profits, equity, financial possibility ... if personified, Techcombank is like a strong and passionate 25-year-old young man. All our officers and employees believe in the future, in the system’s organizing, in the ability to develop and they are ready to face any possible challenges in the time ahead. Therefore, what makes me most proud of Techcombank right now is not the profit but a group of excellent and enthusiastic staff who have the desire to build up more values for the organization and devote to the community. This is the biggest asset of the bank which is more important than all the numbers of revenue and profits.
What has helped Techcombank build the group of employees – who, according to what you have said, are meant to be proud of?
- Many members of the current Board of Directors have had a strong attachment to the bank for a long time. They have been strongly inspiring the organization. They are all excellent Vietnamese students who studied abroad in the Soviet Union during the hard times of our country. Therefore, they caught the rhythm of change to flexibly adapt and had strong wills to overcome every difficulty towards the long-term goals.
I still remember that during the period of economic crisis, the bank’s Board of Directors was very consistent. They eliminated all bad debts to help the bank develop, instead of dividing dividends to withdraw money.
That’s not everything since the key members have always oriented to invest for the future. Techcombank was the first bank to focus on spending $ 5 million to buy the core IT system in 2002. That amount of money accounted for 20% of the charter capital at that time. Most recently, we have continued to invest about $ 300 million to build and further strengthen the information technology platform to actualize our long-term strategic goals.
- What is the difference between Techcombank and the other banks?
- It’s just the difference in people. Regardless of any technology era, people are at the center of everything. People make robots, people control the systems, build and control new technologies. Therefore, if we do not create a human resource base, we will end up being dependent on technology. Vice versa, if we have successfully built human forces, they will be in charge of technology. Technology is just a tool to work for people.
- You have mentioned about the human factor a lot, so how does Techcombank take advantage of it?
- Our strategy is to create a large-scale system, but based on simple, clear and evident principles to support people at work and when making decisions to the fullest, and then we’ll see the good results from our business.
Everything banks do is service. How we serve our customers is more important. Following this philosophy, right after taking over the CEO position at the bank, I embarked in scheduling and offering a specific plan for what we needed to do as well as the suitable services for different customer from different backgrounds.
For each plan, we must carry out in depth researches on what customers need and do what they need. Once you have fully understood the customers, you would find the banking jobs pretty easy. Therefore, the substance of Techcombank’s strategies is to fully understand customers to serve them. Then other things will come automatically.
For me personally, I was a little disappointed when people talked about the bank's business plans. In fact, banks do not do business or trade but only provide services.
- In 3 years, Techcombank has "cleared" all the debts at VAMC and listed on the stock exchange. How has this helped the banking activities?
- The original meaning of selling VAMC bad debts was like having to wear a super heavy backpack but with a certificate indicating that the backpack was very light, in fact, the actual bad debts were still there. Therefore, we determined that we must deduct our profits to write off bad debts, making the backpack lighter. Doing so, the bank would go further, faster, and the new investors would accompany with the bank without worries. As for going on stock market, of course we will have more responsibilities and pressure but it also means that there’ll be more people to help, who are the investors.
Talking about stock prices, there is zero pressure on us. Stock prices are set by buyers and resellers, but the bank’s value depends on the bank's “physical strength”. It’s similar to when you're active on Facebook, if there are a lot of people clicking the like button, it will be fun. But if only a few people like it, it still won’t affect your value.
- What was the investors' reaction when Techcombank continued to use the reinvestment profits to maintain the growth rate?
- During the past IPO period, I have met many big investors in the world and they asked me if they could receive dividends. I asked them: "Have you found any place to invest that makes yearly profit from 20-25%?" After a long time of thinking, their answer was no.
Each year, we grow the profits above 20%, which are used to reinvest. It means that the amount of money invested by investors every year adds more than 20 value. After three years, it will be doubled. After 5 years, it will be tripled. This is not a low profit level.
From 2015 to now, the bank's equity has increased nearly 3 times and the revenue has been doubled. Those are the figures which clearly show the efficiency of the accumulation of investment. Investment has leveraged growth. It’s similar to when doing business, you must have capital. A bank that wants to operate needs the cash flow to lend to customers. The capital lever which creates the resilience is also a factor that makes differences for us. I believe that with the current capital leverage, the profitability of Techcombank in the next 2-3 years will increase by 2-3 times.
- What does Techcombank worry about when a cycle going down after its peak - as usual?
- Of course, I can’t state that it will never happen. We will try our best in managing the risks. The Board of Director is very enthusiastic about the model and working principle of " low risk, high return "
This might sound a bit contradictory but it’s the reality. Risks may occur at any time. But by always thinking in a consistent way, being well aware and prepared to deal with potential risks, the possibility of success is high. Techcombank is one of the few banks that does not have a "side" job but only focuses on banking activities. Therefore, the impacts and risks from outside are very low.
- Why does Techcombank choose this period of time to position the brand via the new slogan "Get better together every day"?
- Everyone knows that Techcombank is a brand in banking field. But we want Techcombank to not only be the leading bank, but also have more sustainable values, representing the will, aspirations, optimism and independence of the Vietnamese people.
A new brand positioning that can connect and inspire people as well as the whole society is our desire when choosing the slogan "Exceeding Every Day" for the present time.
In the researching process to reposition our brand, we have realized that majority of Vietnamese people are very young and always optimistic; they believe in the future and have a high spirit of independence.
However, to succeed and go further, faster, we still need some support. We want to be an organization which is capable of helping and creating great conditions for citizens as well as small, medium enterprises and large enterprises to achieve higher and exceeding goals.
Techcombank will be the organization that helps them dream bigger and achieve higher goals through its services. For example, we can provide financial consultancy to enable investors to invest more precisely; provide comprehensive services to young people who have higher and further dreams. That is the spirit of our chosen slogan.
- What is the plan of Techcombank for the next 5 years?
- Definitely more imposing and outstanding. In the next 5 years, what Techcombank has been building from the foundation today will begin to get good results and be in-depth. For example, the State Bank wants Vietnam's financial system, instead of relying on the banks’ cash flows to lend, should issue more bonds to launch in external financial markets.
To achieve that, we are now focusing on building systems, building people, and at the same time, establishing domestic and international relationships so that the market can consume bonds.
Techcombank has gradually been creating the market. When the market is more diversified, its depth will be better. We have already taken actions on that, and in the next 5 years, when the system and relationships become big enough, the engine will start running.