Asean bankers mull challenges, opportunities amid changes

Representatives​ of Asean​ countries attend the 23rd Asean Banking Conference and 51st Asean Banking Council Meeting in Vientiane on Dec 6. - VT

VIENTIANE: The 23rd Asean Banking Conference and 51st Asean Banking Council Meeting are taking place in Vientiane from Dec 6-8 in Vientiane, under the theme​ “Digitalisation and sustainable growth in Asean banking sector: opportunities and challenges”.

Representatives​ of Asean​ countries attend the 23rd Asean Banking Conference and 51st Asean Banking Council Meeting in Vientiane on Wednesday (Dec 6).

Chairperson of the Lao Bankers Association (LBA)​ and Group​ Managing Director of Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL), Saysamone Chanthachack, said the two meetings create a platform for the members of the Asean Bankers Association and their external partners to foster collaboration, share insights, and discuss the future of the banking sector in the Asean region and beyond.

“We are faced with not only a rapidly evolving banking landscape driven by technological advancement, changing customer expectations, and an increasingly complex regulatory environment, but also current global geo-political issues and an economic environment that are adversely affecting the banking industry worldwide,” Saysamone said.

“It is therefore crucial for us, as leaders in the banking industry, to forge closer cooperation and collaboration to find ways to overcome these challenges collectively so that banks operating in the Asean region remain highly competitive, resilient, and relevant in the years to come, thus helping to build the Asean Economic Community, spur growth and development and deepen cooperation within the Asean banking sector,” she added.

Meeting participants will discuss various topics related to banking, including the role of payments in driving financial inclusion and integration across Asean countries, digital transformation, financial inclusion, and sustainable and responsible banking practices.

Chairperson of the Asean Bankers Association, Daw Khin Saw Oo, said “The use of digital banking has grown significantly across the globe, mainly due to high rates of internet penetration, widely adopted mobile devices, and increasing customer demand for digital financial services.”

“Digitalisation is leading to the unbundling of bank businesses and their transformation across Asean and also has enabled banks to leverage the power of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to make better business decisions and offer personalised services to customers,” she said.

“In addition, new technologies continue to transform the banking industry and increase competition within it, as well as with other industries,” she added.

Despite the downside risks and uncertainties in the global economic environment, Asean still remains vigilant and committed to deepen its economic integration agenda.

In advancing this development, it is reassuring to note that our Asean Political Leaders have embarked on the development of a “seamless digital ecosystem” across the region. This is through spearheading the establishment of the Asean Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) for the Asean Member States. - Vientiane Times/ANN

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