Home Credit has a pioneering reputation in the consumer finance industry in Vietnam. Between 2020 and 2022, the company was rated as the “Most Desired Brand” in the market by the Ipsos’ Annual Brand Health Tracker. It has also received many other prestigious awards in the technology, HR and CSR categories.
Annica Witschard, CEO of Home Credit Vietnam, shares the company’s ESG journey so far.
Why is Home Credit Vietnam proactively developing an ESG strategy when this trend is still new in Vietnam?
ESG principles are actually not new to us at all. They have always been integral to our business approach, even before being called ESG. Responsible finance, financial inclusion and digital empowerment, which have been woven into Home Credit’s DNA since day one, are central to our policies and commitments to customers, staff and the communities that we serve.
I strongly believe that an action-driven ESG strategy has a powerful impact on the sustainable growth plans of any business. But, it’s not just about the business growth; it’s also about driving transformational social impacts. I am proud to say that our strategy has so far proven successful. Our customers say that they find us trustworthy, responsible and friendly. Three out of four of our customers recommend Home Credit services to their families and friends, while 75% of new revenue is generated by returning customers.
We are able to achieve steady and healthy business results while maintaining the lowest non-performing loan ratio across the industry.
In addition, as more and more employees seek purpose and value at work, we find that social responsibility and a forward-thinking workforce strategy are keys to employee satisfaction and attracting talent in a competitive labor market.
How is sustainability included in work at Home Credit Vietnam?
First and foremost, we apply the principles of good governance through responsible financing and acting with transparency and compliance. We offer customers the right products, based on their needs and financial capacities with sustainable repayment plans, ensuring that they clearly understand all essential information related to the service and do not become overburdened. At the same time, we promote responsible borrowing practices via roadshows and workshops, focusing on teaching core skills such as money management or household budgeting.
We serve more than 14 million customers nationwide, most of whom are low-income earners with no credit history, and therefore not being served by traditional banks. We can plug that gap and help them access financing easily and safely to quickly achieve their daily goals. This is financial inclusion in action.
The “S” in ESG is also an area we focus on. We give back by supporting female entrepreneurs in communities and teaching financial literacy, which I believe will have long-term positive impacts for both societies and our business. We have also invested in CSR programs that have delivered, for example, direct aid for flood victims and for people in need during Covid-19.
Our digital products ensure that the end-to-end aspects of our transactions are efficient and promote sustainable consumption. Our automated lending process helps to improve customer experience, increases the ease of doing business across the economy and lowers the impact on the environment.
Can you explain more about your digital strategy and some of your innovative products, e.g., Home PayLater and Home App?
Digital empowerment is one of our goals as a business. Home PayLater is a recently launched Buy Now, Pay Later product which will revolutionize the way customers shop, allowing them fast access to consumables without adding financial pressure to their budgets. Home App, which was launched last July, helps customers access a full suite of financing services anytime, anywhere.
These technologies are underpinned by a solid technological foundation, a wealth of data, and cutting-edge information security protocols that are designed to enable everyone to benefit from digitisation.
In the context of global economic instability in 2023, how can Home Credit build a sustainable future?
We do not treat ESG as “just another line item” in our budget but as the driving force of our sustainable growth.
This year is going to be challenging but we believe in the resilience of the Vietnamese economy. We trust that improving access to responsible finance through digital innovation will help us to mitigate global headwinds and contribute to the broader economic recovery.
We will keep on ensuring consistency and coherence in our approach to sustainability while pioneering high-quality products and services. I trust this will continue to make us a desired brand that customers, partners and employees want to stay with.