KBank turns focus offshore

Kasikornbank (KBank) is positioning its offshore banking business to offer financial services for regional trade and investment on the back of strong economic growth across Asia.

Executive vice-president Songpol Chevapanyaroj said strong growth in Asian economies, particularly in Asean due partly to the formation of the Asean Economic Community in 2016, is attracting investors from all over the world.

Gross domestic product growth in the Asean+3 _ Asean plus China, Japan and South Korea _ is expected to come in at 5.1% next year.

"With its geographical location, Thailand can serve as a gateway for both foreign investors and local businesses expanding regionally in terms of both trade and investment," said Mr Songpol.

He said KBank plans to serve outbound business customers, both corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises, throughout Asia via its well-established networks and partner banks.

KBank, the country's fourth-largest financial institution in terms of assets, would keep foreign partnership model for the business expansion.

He said KBank has 35 banking partners in nine countries _ Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and the US _ plus the EU.

As well, it now has a representative office in Japan and Myanmar and will open others in Malaysia and Indonesia.

As well, it will expand its banking partnerships in Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei.

Mr Songpol said business matching is a key strategy throughout the region, and KBank plans to participate next year.

No fees will be charged, as the activity will be used as a means help the bank to expand new customer base, he said.

KBank expects this strategy will increase its market share in the segment to 24-25% next year from 22-23% now.

Mr Songpol said the region's high growth potential will push Thailand's export growth to 10-15% next year while contributing to KBank's transactional banking service as well as trade finance.

KBank targets boosting its trade finance by 31% to 2.7 trillion baht next year compared with estimated growth of 26% this year.

The business will contribute fee-based income of 1.91 billion baht next year, up by 26%, Mr Songpol added.

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Writer: Somruedi Banchongduang
Position: Business Reporter