KBank eyes slower SME loan growth

KBank eyes slower SME loan growth

KBank senior executive vice-president Patchara Samalapa (third from right) at the launch of the KPlus and KPlus SME mobile apps at the bank's head office. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA
KBank senior executive vice-president Patchara Samalapa (third from right) at the launch of the KPlus and KPlus SME mobile apps at the bank's head office. PORNPROM SATRABHAYA

Kasikornbank (KBank) expects its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans this year to grow at a slower pace than last year's 4-6% because of thin loan demand amid an uneven economic recovery, says a senior official.

The bank's 2017 SME loans will grow at a similar rate to the first quarter's 1-2%, said senior executive vice-president Patchara Samalapa.

"The bank won't push loans to SME customers, as we have learned from experience over the past two years that offering them loans when there is no demand is useless," he said.

Sluggish economic growth has taken a toll on SME operators, who struggled during a liquidity crunch over the past few years as they are unable to compete against large companies due to financial constrains, and inferior connections and cost management.

"SME customers will recover when the economy grows at more than 5%," Mr Patchara said.

KBank's SME loans account for 40% of the bank's total loan at 1.2 trillion baht. The figure does not take into account large SME operators who borrow more than 200 million baht.

"I estimate that around 250,000 SMEs customers need financial support," Mr Patchara said. "The number includes SMEs that are juristic entities and individuals."

The bank has more than 100,000 SME customers and around 40% of the bank's mobile app users are estimated to be individual SME operators.

KBank has more than 5 million individual customers who use the bank's mobile app so called KPlus and they make around 1.7 billion transactions a year worth 4.3 trillion baht in total.

The bank yesterday launched a mobile app for SMEs, including individuals and juristic persons.

With the new app, users are able to manage and access data of up to 25 accounts. This helps business operators to manage their cash flow, and check the status of cheques, deposits, payment, promissory notes or long-term loans and letter of guarantees.

"These functions will allow SMEs business to manage cost and financial issues more efficiency," Mr Patchara said.

The bank aims for 40,000-50,000 downloads of the KPlus SME app this year, he said.

KBANK shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 192.5 baht, up 50 satang, in trade worth 781 million baht.

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