KBank seeks modest home loan growth

KBank seeks modest home loan growth

Kasikornbank (KBank) aims for low-double-digit mortgage growth this year, driven by online vendors and the freelance market, which offer vast business opportunities with low competition.

The number of self-employed workers, particularly online writers, content creators, YouTubers and vloggers, is increasing significantly in line with the new generation's changing lifestyle and technology advancement, said executive vice-president Surat Leelataviwat.

There are roughly 2.5 million online sellers, some of them salaried workers but earning extra income from sales online.

Many self-employed workers still struggle to access bank loans because of a lack of bank statements, Mr Surat said.

The advancement of KBank's data-driven analysis should open more opportunity to access this customer segment amid low competition relative to the employee segment.

"With the data analytics developments, we use several innovative tools coupled with traditional methods to analyse credit risks in the new market segment," Mr Surat said. "We have adjusted credit scoring and the transactional scoring system in line with their risk profiles."

Asset quality is the bank's focus against the backdrop of a sluggish economy.

The bank slowed housing loan expansion in the fourth quarter of 2019 after delivering strong growth in the first nine months. As of September, the bank's housing loan portfolio amounted to 310 billion baht, up 16% year-on-year.

KBank was anticipating more than 10% growth in housing loans last year while keeping a lid on the non-performing loan ratio for mortgages at 3.7%.

Distressed debt for home loan products has increased in accordance with the economic circumstances, Mr Surat said, adding that most homebuyers have faced lower income, especially overtime cuts.

In addition, the bank managed to record strong growth of 19.5% year-on-year in personal loans for the January-to-September period of 2019.

KBANK shares closed on Friday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 152.50 baht, down one satang, in trade worth 840 million baht.

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