Kasikornbank (KBank) has allocated 17 billion baht worth of its investment budget until 2022 on core banking systems and digital infrastructure development to enable exploration of new growth areas.
The budget is allocated to the bank's technology subsidiary, Kasikornbank Business Technology Group (KBTG), said co-president Kattiya Indaravijaya.
"The company needs to modernise and engineer existing infrastructures to cater to the digital age," she said.
The investment enables the bank to improve business efficiency, cut operating cost and expand digital banking both locally and regionally to serve the goal of becoming a regional bank, said Ms Kattiya.
The bank normally spends 10 billion baht a year for IT investment.
KBank, the country's largest lender by assets and digital banking service provider, has set up two new affiliate companies: Kaitai Tech and Kasikorn X (KX). Kaitai Tech, a company under KBTG, is located in China to develop and access other tech companies on the mainland. KX mainly focuses on new S-curve growth business.
Pipit Aneknithi, another co-president, said Asian economic growth is promising, with the middle class in the region estimated to increase to 67% of the global middle class population by 2030 from 57%.
Digital engagement is part of the middle class' lifestyle, while 33% of new unicorn startups were in Asia, marking the perfect time for Thai business operators to branch into the Asean+3 markets, he said.
Under the bank's strategy of asset-light regional digital expansion, hefty investment is not necessary because digital banking is a means for going abroad, said Mr Pipit.
To broaden business opportunities in 2020, KBank expects to establish new branches in Myanmar, Vietnam, and Indonesia, and also envisages expansion into China.
KBank aims to expand users of its mobile banking app, K-Plus, to 12 million by the end of the year. K-Plus's financial transactions were 8.5 billion last year, up from 2.9 billion in 2018.
The bank aims for growth in consumer loans covering mortgage, auto, credit card and personal loans to rise by 178 billion baht this year, largely from digital loans.
KBANK shares closed on Wednesday on the SET at 133.50 baht, down two baht, in trade worth 2.34 billion baht.