Vietnam Consumer Finance Report 2020: Challenges and opportunities for getting ahead
The 2019 has been particularly eventful, with the revival of at least two previously inactive FinCos to the market (PTFinance, FCCOM), putting pressure on the market shares of the incumbents. CF increased its contribution to national loan book to 20.5% in 2019, up from the 19.6% in 2018. Given the current market size, CF penetration in Vietnam is currently considered slow compared to its regional peers, signifying an attractive growth prospect.
Banks vs. FinCos in consumer finance
FinCos are starting to regain the momentum in 2019 despite tighter supervision. The CF Market is comprised of retail banks and FinCos, in which banks dominate the total market with around 92% market share thanks to its extensive retail network and long-term reputation. While banks target at customers with good credit history, FinCos focuses on low-income customer segments which are mostly the newly banked and unbanked, under-banked. However, over time, banks tend to wade down to explore lower-income segments, whereas FinCos try to go up, making the overlapped portion of target customer become bigger.
Cash loan is considered the go-to-market product of any new entrants with the aim of penetrating the market, especially those who do not have a strong customer base for upselling.
In 2019, cash loan market share was maintained despite the concern on SBV’s intention to reduce the proportion of cash loans at FinCos to 30% at maximum in the draft Amendment of Circular 43.
However, the market witnessed leading players like FE Credit, Home Credit, HD Saison have shifted their focus on cross selling and upselling to existing customers whose good credit history has been validated rather than new customers. Thus, products like TW, CDs (offered to new customers) tend to decline, while credit cards are increasingly offered to customers with healthy credit history. Some FinCos are expected to launch credit card soon to reduce its reliance on cash loans and fulfil with SBV’s prudent requirements.
Market share of major players like HD Saison, Home Credit have been strained due to the fierce competition from younger players such as Mirae Asset, Shinhan Finance, Mcredit and newcomers such as Easy Credit, VietCredit, SHB Finance, Lotte Finance and the revival of previously inactive FinCos PTFinance, FCCOM. Overall, given the market’s growth potential, Consumer Finance market maintains its attractiveness to both domestic and international investors.
Circular 18/2019 revising Circular 43/2016 on consumer lending activities among finance companies, which became effectively on Nov 2019, with restriction to proportion of cash loans is pushing FinCos to restructure their CF loan book. Accordingly, the dominant position of cash loans in credit institutions and FinCos are set up for a reduction scheme over a 3-year period. From 01/01/2024 onwards, the proportion of cash loans should be reduced to 30%
FinCos’ NPM slightly decreased in 2019 due to higher operating costs for recruitment of quality people, and higher investments in developing internal systems/procedures, and digitization. FinCos not only have to compete to gain market share but also face competition in recruiting and retaining competent staff as new entrants are hunting their quality workforce aggressively.
In the early months of 2019, the impact of Covid-19 was not clearly reflected in early reported financial indicators of some FinCos. However, earning quality of FinCos are forecasted to be hit in quarter 2 along with slow loan growth which affect interest income and higher operating cost to boost sales and higher provision set aside for loan loss during the Covid-time, which probably threat FinCos’ net profit margin.
Average NPL declined in 2019, showing improvement in asset quality and risk management. In order to mitigate credit risk, some key players have switched to focusing more on existing customers whose credit history is validated rather than new customers, adopting AI, social rating to better score customers’ credit and prevent fraud.
The rapid spread of Covid-19 caused many people to lose jobs, taking a punch on borrowers’ ability to pay back debts. Thanks to Government and SBV’s policy to support customers hit by Covid-19, weakening asset quality of banks and FinCos were not clearly revealed in NPL ratios, but it is predicted to be indicated in the coming quarters, especially when supporting policies are lifted.
Key market trends
The reactivation of previously inactive FinCos (PTFinance, FCCom) together with the anticipation of potential investors in the inactive HAFIC is expected to increase competition among FinCos.
FinCos are shifting their focus to credit cards and CF products linked with non-cash payment channels under high digitization of payments.
Macro-economic data illustrate the devastating magnitude of the economic and social challenges triggered by the Covid-19, hence affected FinCos’ loan book growth and funding in the first quarter. The impact is expected to reveal more clearly in the coming quarters of 2020.Please login to download Report Preview
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