KBank in US$2.7 billion technology drive to extend banking to unbanked Thais

“We support simplification, speed and more sophisticated assessment of the potential of small customers to be responsible borrowers, so that the unbanked and underserved can also benefit from banking products that can improve their lives and businesses.” “

Miss. Kattiya Indaravijaya, CEO, KASIKORNBANK

BANGKOK, July 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — KASINKORNBANK (KBank) announced a 2.7 billion US dollars a strategic program aimed at increasing access to banking services among of Thailand unbanked and underbanked population, as well as many small businesses and the self-employed. The program includes accelerated investments in technology, technology-related acquisitions, commercial partnerships, organizational development, as well as the adoption of other technology-oriented methods to improve access to banking services among a wider range of the public.

Miss. Kattiya Indaravijaya, CEO, KASIKORNBANK (PRNewsfoto/KASIKORNBANK (KBank))

Ms. Kattiya Indaravijaya, CEO, KASIKORNBANK said, “We are taking a bold step and through technological leadership, we aim to transform banking into Thailand in ways that can help more people get into the banking system and benefit from banking products and services.

“We are already a bank that has the great strengths and reliability of a traditional bank serving a wide range of customers. What we’re doing now is fusing into that successful core the disruptive DNA of a ‘challenger bank’.”

Challenger banks are a disruptive phenomenon in many countries, ‘challenging’ old banks by using new technologies to make banking products more accessible. Challenger banks have also appealed to traditional banking customers by removing cumbersome processes and providing faster services that are easy to use, available anywhere and always on.

“Fusing the DNA of a ‘challenger bank’, we want to be a bank that enables a whole new generation of Thais who are rich in ability and energy to access banking products and advice.

“We want to lend more unsecured and based on the borrower’s real ability and intention to repay. We want to make it easy for anyone to apply from the privacy of their homes or offices. We want to remove processes and documentation and make things really simple. And we want it all to happen for the customer much, much faster.”

Ms Indaravijaya said: “We have embarked on our strategic program to fully utilize emerging technologies to perform more complete assessments of a customer’s ability and willingness to repay a loan.

“These more sophisticated assessments of a small customer’s potential to be a responsible borrower will enable millions more people, the self-employed and many small businesses to enter the banking system, as well as freeing many from the debt trap of interest-charging loan sharks.” often over 200% per year.”

INVESTMENT IN NEW TECHNOLOGIES / COLLABORATION / ACQUISITION

In this and the next two years, KBank invested approx 610 million US dollars in new technologies and systems, in addition to 350 million US dollars invested in the last two years.

KBank revealed that it also expects to complete in the next 12 months between two to five acquisitions and commercial collaborations with technology-related businesses, with investments of up to 840 million US dollars.

THREE TRANSFORMATIONAL “FIRSTS”

  • KBank is already piloting specialized buy-now-pay-later loans for those who are self-employed or have no documents to prove their income, assessing their creditworthiness based on alternative data.

    Over the past few months, KBank has been approving an average of 1,600 loan applications per day using this method, with loan amounts typically around 40 USDwith some cases reaching up to 560 USD.

    “We are the only bank that does this and we do very encouraged that many of these people have probably never received a loan from a bank and are probably among the most vulnerable victims of loan sharks. That first small loan becomes a bridge that helps them move into the banking system. And as they gain confidence in managing and repaying these loans, they can gradually increase their loan size based on their performance as well as be empowered with other, more specialized products,” said Ms Indaravijaya.

  • KBank is also testing ways to make getting loans fairer for micro-enterprises as part of its “challenger bank” goals.

    Since many of these types of businesses do not have financial records, they are almost always unable to obtain bank loans and are forced to turn to expensive, informal sources of loans.

    “We are the first bank to reach out to these groups and allow them to get loans without such documentation. We are doing so based on interviews and other technology-assisted assessments and hope to expand the project beyond its preliminary phase as soon as possible,” she added.

  • Ms Indaravijaya said another major barrier to taking up bank loans for lower income groups and the self-employed is that they do not have time to visit a bank branch or are not comfortable doing so.

    “To facilitate their entry into the banking system, we have partnered with the social media app LINE and are the only bank to offer social media banking in Thailand. Even if the applicant does not have a bank account, our LINE BK application allows him to apply for a loan and get a decision within 24 hours. And if they already have a KBank account, they can fill out an application and get a decision in less than five minutes.

    “The LINE BK app also allows people to apply for loans even if they don’t have supporting documents. With the applicant’s consent, we can assess most cases using algorithms and alternative data already available on their social media.”

    Based on the current user base, about one in three successful borrowers through LINE BK get their first bank loan ever; almost half are self-employed, about half have incomes below 420 USD per month, and almost 80% are in the provinces outside Bangkok.

    “By the end of this year, with the LINE BK app alone, we hope to bring another 200,000 people into the banking system by giving them their first bank loan. Through this channel, we also expect to make loans of total value 550 million US dollars to over 600,000 people and small businesses, freeing many from having to consider borrowing from expensive informal sources,” she said.

EXPANSION PROGRAM ACCESS THROUGH MOM-AND-POP STORES

KBank is also working with a major retail group to give home store operators in the country easier access to unsecured loans as well as providing loans to store customers.

“By evaluating the creditworthiness of the store and its customers in non-traditional ways and by making the processes much easier, within 2022 we aim to reach deep into the country through the thousands of partner stores. This will make us another big step closer to helping residents of small communities around Thailand to access banking services,” she said.

Note to the editor

Like in March 31, 2022KBank and the total assets of its subsidiaries were Baht 4,133,248 millionincrease of Baht 29.849 million or 0.73% compared to the end of 2021, which ranks it second in the Thailand based on market share of loans.

KBank is financially well positioned for the future with a capital ratio of 18.77% and a Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) of 174% and has an adequate provision for loan losses with a NPL coverage of 159%, currently December 2021.

KBank is listed on the stock exchange of Thailand (SET) and is included in the SET 100 Index, the SET Thailand Sustainability Investment (THSI) Index and the SET CLMV Exposure Index and carries a long-term Moody’s rating of Baa1 Outlook Stable.

When values ​​in US dollars are quoted, exchange rate calculations are approximate and rounded.

SOURCE KASINKORNBANK (KBank)

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