Kbank in $142m-a-year digital banking drive
Kasikornbank (Kbank), one of the largest banks in Thailand, says it is to spend THB 5 billion ($142 million) per year in a digital banking transformation project.
Kbank, the country’s fourth-largest lender by assets (THB 2.5 trillion/$71 billion), says it has the largest share of the digital banking market with 38%. It is now looking to further expand and says it wants to work with fintech firms and start-ups.
Kbank is already known for its openness towards all things digital, with it being among the first in the country to embrace social media. The aim is to introduce a service that enables “seamless transactions, regardless of time and location, across every technological platform that matches the latest trends”, according to Kbank’s chairman and CEO, Banthoom Lamsam.
This will span across retail and corporate business lines, with customers being able to make instant transactions “at any time and from any place around the globe, as well as accommodating diverse consumer lifestyles, Asean Economic Community [AEC, a new regional partnership launched in 2015] and cross-border trade at all levels”.
According to the bank, the number of digital banking transactions via mobile and the internet rose to 1.15 billion in 2015 compared to 168 million in 2011. Kbank anticipates that figure to reach 7.9 billion over the next five years.
The bank is clear on its projections for the next four years.
It says the value of its digital banking transactions is projected to grow to THB 30 trillion ($853 billion) by 2020 from THB 4 trillion ($114 billion) in 2015 and THB 900 billion ($25.6 billion) in 2011.
Kbank also says the number of financial transactions at its 1,120 branches is expected to fall to about 153 million in 2020 from 188 million in 2015.
This latest development follows on from last year, when the bank went live with a new core banking system, FIS’s Profile, following a three-year modernisation project. The system replaced a heavily customised version of Temenos’ TCB. Lamsam described the launch of the new core banking system as a “milestone achieved” that will bring “revolutionary changes” in the bank’s services.
Kbank was founded in 1945. It currently has 9,350 ATMs and around 21,600 employees.
In 2012, it became the first user of a new cross-currency automated clearing house (ACH) established in Asia Pacific by JP Morgan Treasury Services.
The bank said at the time it plans to use the service to make it easier for corporates and individuals to send and receive money across Asia Pacific.
“The Asean countries are growing, both in terms of population and connectivity to the outside world, but it’s not easy to transfer funds,” said Songpol Chevapanyaroj, group head, corporate and SME products division at Kbank.