KBank to establish R&D unit for tech

KBank to establish R&D unit for tech

Chairman emeritus Banthoon Lamsam says KBank's R&D efforts will follow the model used by state energy firm PTT.
Chairman emeritus Banthoon Lamsam says KBank's R&D efforts will follow the model used by state energy firm PTT.

Kasikornbank (KBank) plans to set up a research and development (R&D) unit with a focus on IT to prepare for a changing environment after the pandemic crisis.

New knowledge is needed to deal with the new world, particularly in developing competitiveness, chairman emeritus Banthoon Lamsam told reporters after his recent resignation from all management roles and the board of KBank, run by his family for the past 75 years.

He offered PTT as an example. The national energy firm founded Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology and Kamnoetvidya Science Academy Project in Rayong, and KBank wants to follow in PTT's footsteps, Mr Banthoon said.

Information technology will be a key area of R&D projects as the bank looks to beef up competitiveness and searches for business opportunities.

R&D is also expected to improve the customer experience when using the bank's services.

Under the changing environment and greater risks worldwide, existing knowledge won't be enough to deal with future situations, Mr Banthoon said.

"Every segment of the country, including government, private companies and the public, should prepare and adjust for when the Covid-19 crisis is over," he said. "It's necessary to build up new knowledge, and R&D budget is also needed for both the government and private sector."

KBank, the country's largest lender by assets, is No.1 in mobile banking service with 12 million total users of its K-Plus app.

The bank has set an IT investment budget of 30 billion baht this year.

Mr Banthoon said his resignation amid the coronavirus crisis reflects his strong confidence in the bank's management team and the new executive generation.

He spent years paving the way for his successors. The bank has appointed Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul as chairwoman and Kattiya Indaravijaya as chief executive to fill his shoes.

Despite relinquishing his management position, he said KBank will support his work in preserving and rehabilitating forests in Nan province.

"My banker role ended after working for 40 years, and I'm playing another role under the sustainable and responsible concept, in compliance with the sufficiency economy philosophy of King Rama IX," he said.

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