MicroSave and MetLife Foundation launch program in Vietnam to improve low-income people’s financial health through digital innovation

Home > Latest News > MicroSave and MetLife Foundation launch program in Vietnam to improve low-income people’s financial health through digital innovation

Hanoi, November 14, 2018 – MicroSave and MetLife Foundation announced the i3 program at a launch event Hanoi, Vietnam to improve the financial health for low- to moderate-income communities across the country. The i3 program, which stands for Innovate, Implement and Impact, aims to help these communities by supporting financial services institutions that focus their digital transformation initiatives on this particular segment.  

Since 1986, various reforms under Đi Mi spurred rapid economic growth and development in the country, lifting more than 40 million people out of poverty in the process. However, access to and use of formal financial services have been minimal in Vietnam, which continues to be a cash-dominant economy – cash payments account for over 90 percent of all transactions. The government has urged a shift to digital payments to encourage safer transactions that also enable people to plan, save and borrow. There is immense potential for digital financial services to meet this need given the high percentage of internet users and mobile subscribers combined with low banking penetration and an emerging and strong set of FinTech companies. These conditions provide an opportunity to develop targeted products to better meet the personal and business financial needs of low- to moderate-income people in Vietnam.

Mr. Manoj Sharma, Managing Director, Asia, MicroSave, delivered a keynote presentation at the launch. He said, “While basic access to banking services and products remains a challenge in Vietnam, the government has shown firm commitment through conducive policies that aim to advance financial inclusion. Through the i3 program, MicroSave aims to work with strong and capable financial services and FinTech institutions to design and deliver financial products and services that meet the needs of low and moderate income people, who aspire to lead financially healthy lives.”

More than 80 financial inclusion industry experts, including regulators, bankers, microfinance institutions leaders, mobile financial service providers, and FinTech entrepreneurs attended the launch event. Mr. Pham Xuan Hoe, Deputy Director General, Banking Strategy Institute, State Bank of Vietnam, Mr. Ha Hai An, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, State Bank of Vietnam, Mr. Bui Quang Vinh, Deputy General Director, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, Mr. Nguyen Ba Diep, Executive Vice Chairman, MoMo (M_Service JSC), Mr. Gaurav Sharma, CEO & General Director, BIDV MetLife Life Insurance LLC participated as special guests. A lively panel discussion on the importance of financial health was undertaken by leaders from State Bank of Vietnam, BIDV MetLife Life Insurance LLC, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies, MoMo (M_Service JSC), and The Asia Foundation, all of whom are committed to building financial health for all.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Pham Xuan Hoe, Deputy Director General, Banking Strategy Institute, State Bank of Vietnam said: “___”

Mr. Gaurav Sharma, CEO and General Director, BIDV MetLife Life Insurance LLC said: “Vietnam is undergoing a historic and exciting growth phase, making this the right time and perfect opportunity to ensure the growth is inclusive and equitable. MetLife Foundation is very well aligned with the Vietnam government’s priority of improving financial health of low- to moderate-income people, and the i3 program is a great example of that. We hope to create a positive impact on the financial lives of 2 million people across Vietnam with this initiative.”

Mr. Bui Quang Vinh, Deputy General Director, Vietnam Bank for Social Policies said: “VBSP is a government-owned bank taking the lead in policy and microfinance in Vietnam. We have the largest network coverage in the banking system that ensures that the poor and policy holders in rural, mountainous, remote, and isolated areas can easily access financial and banking services at 63 provincial branches, 630 district transaction offices, and 10,962 transaction units opened at the Communal People’s Committee offices nationwide. With 183,000 savings units and over 6.7 million customers, together with more than 20 preferential credit programs and other services, the total outstanding loans have reached over VND185 trillion ($8 billion). The disbursed funds have then been 100% invested in communes, wards, and towns across the country. VBSP has aided over 31.8 million poor households and beneficiaries to gain access to the funds they need, lifting 4.5 million households above the poverty line, while attracting and creating jobs for some 3.4 million laborers. Over 3.5 million students, in addition, have benefited from the funds to complete their study and over 9.7 million clean water and rural environmental sanitation projects. With the goal “Not let the 4.0 industry Revolution ignore the poor, through the cooperation with MicroSave at the i3 program we expect to raise digital financial literacy for the poor, help increase and improve access to the full range of digital financial services to those who lack access to traditional banking services, accelerating economic opportunities for low-income households and women-led microenterprises.”

Mr. Nguyen Ba Diep, Executive Vice Chairman, MoMo (M_Service JSC) said: “I’m highly appreciated Microsave’s efforts & focus for Vietnam market and do hope we could together change low income people lives and make it much better in the future. MoMo would like to contribute its efforts to increase financial inclusion in Vietnam through its mobile e-wallet & physical distribution system.””

Through the i3 program, MicroSave has partnered with banks, MFS providers, FinTechs and other financial service providers that are using technology to build products and services specifically for the financially excluded and underserved people of Vietnam.

The three-year program, funded by MetLife Foundation, is being implemented across four Asian countries, led by MicroSave in Bangladesh and Vietnam and by UNCDF in China and Malaysia. The program will have a shared learning platform to ensure that lessons learned are shared across the markets and more broadly.

To learn more about the program, visit www.i3program.org.

About MetLife Foundation

MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since its founding through the end of 2017, MetLife Foundation has provided more than USD 783 million in grants and USD 70 million in program-related investments to organizations addressing issues that have a positive impact in their communities. In 2013, the Foundation committed USD 200 million to financial inclusion, and our work to date has reached more than 6 million low-income individuals in 42 countries. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit www.metlife.org.

About MicroSave

MicroSave is a leading international consulting firm that offers practical, market-led solutions to enhance access to financial services to the low and middle-income segment in the digital age. MicroSave offers consulting services in the areas of Digital Financial Services (DFS), Inclusive Finance and Banking, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Private Sector Development, among others.

MicroSave has worked in more than 50 countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, with more than 450 clients. We work with various national and international clients for nearly two decades as a locally based international consulting firm. We help guide policies and facilitate partnerships to develop enabling ecosystems, provide comprehensive, customized strategic advisory, and deliver actionable, on-site operational assistance for financial inclusion. For more details about MicroSave, visit www.microsave.net


The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers last-mile finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. By identifying market segments where innovative financing models can have a transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs. To learn more about UNCDF, visit www.uncdf.org.

For more information:

Akshat Pathak

Country Program Manager, i3 Program Vietnam