News Column

KBank counts on students to help meet full-year goal

July 31, 2014

By Somruedi Banchongduang, Bangkok Post, Thailand

July 31--Kasikornbank (KBank), the country's fourth-biggest bank by assets, says its target of 3.3 million new retail accounts this year is reachable because its strategy of capturing customers in groups, especially university students, is paying off.

The bank is maintaining its 2014 goal, even though it failed to reach half of its full-year target in the first six months, said executive vice-president Pakorn Partanapat.

KBank is striking deals with several universities and vocational schools to offer student ID debit cards, in hopes that this will be a major driver in helping to reach the new-account target.

The bank also plans to draw fans of local football clubs and private company staff to use KBank debit cards.

"Although fee income from debit card business among students is still minimal, the move will help expand the bank's middle-income customer base in the long run," Mr Pakorn said. "These customers will also help increase the bank's cross-selling sales and income."

The mass-market and middle-income customer base represents 90% of KBank's 14 million clients and contributes the largest share of revenue to the bank.

Apart from increased fee-based income, the new retail accounts should boost the bank's deposit growth because a deposit account is required to use a debit card.

Mr Pakorn said the bank expects to achieve 2014 retail loan growth of 6-8%, despite a marginal growth rate of 1% in the first half.

Brighter economic signs and seasonal second-half factors are seen guiding loan expansion to the target.

In addition, the bank is optimistic about delivering 20-23% fee-based income growth this year after recording 22% growth in the first half.

KBank forecasts second-half Thai GDP growth of 4.3%. It recently revised its full-year GDP growth forecast to 2.3% from an earlier projection of 1.8%.

The economic pickup will also increase debtors' servicing ability and help the bank manage non-performing retail loans at the satisfactory level of 1.7% as of the end of June.

Shares of KBANK closed yesterday on the SET at 207 baht, up four baht, in trade worth 2.41 billion baht.


(c)2014 the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand)

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Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)

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