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Military Bank: Turns to Apigee to manage its API strategy and deliver digital transformation

About Military Bank

Established in 1994 to provide credit to Vietnam’s military, Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Military Bank) is one of the top five commercial joint stock banks in the Southeast Asian nation. Headquartered in Hanoi, the bank provides banking products and services to individuals, economic organizations and enterprises across the country, boosts the efficiency of the banking sector and enhances the economic development of Vietnam. Its operating segments include investments, individual customers, corporate customers, interbank operations and asset management

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Vietnam

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With Apigee, Military Bank is transitioning to a digital business model backed by a scalable API program that seamlessly adds business partner offerings to its own capabilities. The bank has reduced the time required to take on new partners by 50%, and the institution plans to transfer 200 APIs and 20 applications to the product.

Google Cloud results

  • Reduces the integration time for partners by 50%
  • Exposes 50 APIs to date and enables development of two applications
  • Helps create a platform to deliver digital banking

An Apigee portal allows Military Bank’s partners to learn about the bank’s operations and proactively test integration with its APIs

Vietnam is a fast-developing financial services market with vast scope for growth, and its banks are adapting quickly. A recent report prepared by Austrade (the Australian Trade Commission) reveals at least 60% of the country’s institutions are implementing digital transformation.

The transition enables incumbent banks to digitalize and new digital-only banks emerge to target individual markets or segments. Banks and fintechs in Vietnam now compete to serve a fast-growing commercial segment and an immature consumer market in which, Austrade says, most of the population do not have a bank account.

Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Military Bank) is one of the institutions pursuing digital transformation Established in 1994 to provide credit to Vietnam’s armed forces, Military Bank provides personal and corporate banking, investment services, interbank operations, and asset management.

Two young vietnamese women in blue blazers and white blouses behind counter in bank offer two people a brochure

A broader view of bank success

The 15,000+ employee-strong bank is not just focused on its own success. It aims to boost the banking sector and enhance Vietnam’s economic development as well as deliver high-quality banking products and services.

The bank recently disclosed ambitions to become a leading digital bank within the next three years, double its revenue, and provide products and services to 10 million customers. In 2019, Military Bank provided an update to its digital transformation program that includes initiatives such as:

  • A new app that features voice transaction, financial counseling, and currency transfer options
  • Family-focused digital marketing
  • A multichannel digital platform for corporate customers
  • Database management, data warehouse optimization, and business intelligence reporting

“We reviewed the top three API solutions as described by industry analyst Gartner and undertook proofs of concept of each. Gartner’s research and our analysis determined Apigee had pre-eminent features that enabled us to publish microservices, create sandboxes, and create a developer portal with built-in app registration and support for API key approval.”

Vũ Ngọc Thành, Deputy Director, Technology Development Centre, Information Technology Division, Military Bank

An API-based strategy

The Military Bank strategy also entails providing external companies with banking services through APIs, so they can provide products and services to their customers.

The bank had relied on enterprise service bus (ESB) technology to publish APIs, but found this approach limited. For example, its technology team could not effectively monitor APIs for errors and disruptions, develop a business plan based on API calls, or properly manage the number of API calls.

Military Bank knew it had to partner with technology leaders to execute its strategy and reviewed API management products to identify the solution that would best meet its needs.

“With Apigee, we can transition to a digital business model with a scalable API program and create new, financially rewarding business opportunities with our partners.”

Vũ Ngọc Thành, Deputy Director, Technology Development Centre, Information Technology Division, Military Bank

Analyst review and POC led to Apigee

The business soon turned to Apigee from Google Cloud. “We reviewed the top three API solutions as described by industry analyst Gartner and undertook proofs of concept of each,” says Vũ Ngọc Thành, Deputy Director, Technology Development Centre, Information Technology Division, Military Bank. “Gartner’s research and our analysis determined Apigee had pre-eminent features that enabled us to publish microservices, create sandboxes, and create a developer portal with built-in app registration and support for API key approval.”

Military Bank then collaborated with Google Premier Partner Softline to complete the implementation. A long-time partner that has implemented a number of technology projects for Military Bank, Softline helped complete the move in four months. Despite team members on both sides working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, their collective skills and professionalism ensured the project was completed on time and to the required quality.

With Apigee, Military Bank is designing, securing, analyzing, and scaling APIs, using transparent and controlled processes.

Apigee enables its developers to create API proxies, configure and code API policies as steps in the API flow, and customize API behavior using code.

The bank is enforcing consistent security best practices and governance policies across all APIs, with stringent data-at-rest protection against threats. It is also examining API traffic data, exploring spikes, and tracing live API calls, as well as tracking developers, applications, and revenue metrics. Monitoring tools help provide a consistent experience for application developers, customers, and partners, and reduce the mean time to diagnosis.

“Apigee is an important component of the architectural model of digital banking applications and provides a robust platform for us to transform into a leading digital banking provider.”

Vũ Ngọc Thành, Deputy Director, Technology Development Centre, Information Technology Division, Military Bank

Supporting the transition to digital

“With Apigee, we can transition to a digital business model with a scalable API program and create new, financially rewarding business opportunities with our partners,” says Ngọc Thành. “Partners can now use a range of APIs to actively build applications based on the services provided by the bank.

The bank is also benefiting from the fact Apigee provides service packages associated with the number or frequency of API calls.

“We have reduced the time to integrate some of our partners by up to 50%,” says Ngọc Thành. “We now have a helpful, visualized tool that helps us sell products more effectively.”

The bank has exposed 50 APIs to date through Apigee, including APIs to enable account opening and money transfer, while Military Bank has built two applications with the service. The business expects to transfer 200 APIs and 20 applications to the Google Cloud service.

With Apigee, Military Bank is re-standardizing all the APIs it provides to its partners, and Ngọc Thành says this boosts the competitiveness of the institution in the fast-developing Vietnam financial services sector. “This allows us to reduce integration time with partners that operate in different fields and expand our connections to multiple partners simultaneously.”

“Apigee is an important component of the architectural model of digital banking applications and provides a robust platform for us to transform into a leading digital banking provider,” he concludes.

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About Military Bank

Established in 1994 to provide credit to Vietnam’s military, Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Military Bank) is one of the top five commercial joint stock banks in the Southeast Asian nation. Headquartered in Hanoi, the bank provides banking products and services to individuals, economic organizations and enterprises across the country, boosts the efficiency of the banking sector and enhances the economic development of Vietnam. Its operating segments include investments, individual customers, corporate customers, interbank operations and asset management

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Vietnam