Easy loans for all

Easy loans for all

Major banks are leveraging partnerships and digital tech to tap the underbanked

Ms Kattiya says that through technological leadership, the bank aims to transform banking in Thailand in ways that can help more people enter the banking system and benefit from banking products and services.
Ms Kattiya says that through technological leadership, the bank aims to transform banking in Thailand in ways that can help more people enter the banking system and benefit from banking products and services.

Major banks have continued to tap the underbanked, aiming to promote financial inclusion and further expand their customer base.

The banks have leveraged partnerships and digital technology to provide financial services to underbanked groups.

Last month Kasikornbank (KBank) announced a 100-billion-baht strategic programme aimed at boosting access to banking services among the unbanked and underbanked population as well as very small businesses.

The programme includes accelerated investments in technology, technology-related acquisitions, commercial partnerships, organisational development, as well as adopting other technology-driven methods to boost access to banking services among a broader range of the public.

KBank's chief executive Kattiya Indaravijaya said through technological leadership, the bank aims to transform banking in Thailand in ways that can help more people enter the banking system and benefit from banking products and services.

Ms Kattiya added that KBank is piloting specialised buy-now-pay-later loans for those who are self-employed or have no documents to prove their income by evaluating their credit-worthiness on alternative data.

In their companies' latest collaboration, executives of Krungsri and Grab Thailand jointly launch 'Grab First Personal Loan', a new financial product for Grab users.

Over the last several months, KBank approved an average of 1,600 loan applications daily using this method, and the loan amount is usually around 1,500 baht, with some cases going up to 20,000 baht.

KBank has partnered with LINE to offer banking services through social media in Thailand to make it easier for the customers to enter the banking system.

The loan applicants, who have no bank account, can access the LINE BK app and apply for a loan and get a response within 24 hours. If they already have an account with KBank, they can complete the application and be given a decision in less than five minutes.

By the end of this year, with just the LINE BK app, the bank hopes to bring a further 200,000 people into the banking system by giving them their first loan. Through this channel, it also expects to extend loans totalling 20 billion baht to over 600,000 people and small businesses, Ms Kattiya said.


KBank is also working with a major retail group to give upcountry mom-and-pop store operators easier access to loans without collateral, as well as providing loans to the stores' customers.

"By evaluating a store and its customers' creditworthiness in non-traditional ways, and by making processes much simpler, within 2022 we aim to reach deep into upcountry through the partner's thousands of stores. It will put us another big step closer to helping residents of small communities around Thailand gain access to banking services," Ms Kattiya said.

As part of such strategy, KBank and the Carabao Group, the maker of Carabao Dang energy drink, have teamed up to invest up to 15 billion baht to expand the latter's Tookdee convenience stores.

The two partners will also establish a joint venture company called Kbao Co to provide comprehensive loan services, along with financial facilities, for companies within Carabao Group and the group's customers.

KBank this month also launched the K PAY LATER loan that allows customers to spend for their daily lives under the "buy-now-pay-later" concept, targeting freelancers, small merchants and wage earners who lack proof of income.

Application can be made via its K PLUS mobile app. Customers can use it to spend at more than 100,000 participating stores nationwide. The maximum loan limit is 20,000 baht.


In their latest collaboration, Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) and Grab Thailand have launched 'Grab First Personal Loan', a new financial product for Grab users.

Any Grab users who are invited to apply for the loan via the Grab app can submit the application through Krungsri Consumer's UCHOOSE app. The loan is available with a maximum credit line of 100,000 baht and a maximum instalment payment period of 12 months.

Krungsri and Grab have exclusively formed a long-term strategic alliance since 2020 and have continuously synergised in the development of financial products and services as well as launching a series of promotional campaigns to serve the financial needs of all related parties across Grab's ecosystem.

Phonganant Thanattrai, Krungsri Head of Retail and Consumer Banking, said the lending products under the partnership have generated over 3 billion baht in total loans, enabling access to financial products for more than 100,000 merchants and driver partners.

The success led to the extension of collaboration in designing new products that better meet the financial needs of Grab users, he said.

SCB Abacus's MoneyThunder app aims to serve those who have difficulty accessing loans from financial institutions.

This time, the partnership leverages the expertise in digital financial products of Krungsri Consumer, a leader in credit card and personal loan business, to develop the Grab First Personal Loan to cater specifically to Grab users.

According to Nayanee Peaugkham, chairwoman of Krungsri Consumer, the Grab First Personal Loan is outstanding for being easy to apply for via digital channels.

Moreover, customers can check their loan balance, payment amount and payment due date through the UCHOOSE app around the clock, free of charge.

"This collaboration offers an important opportunity for Krungsri Consumer to expand the financial services and loan extension to cover a wider range of customer segments and to further grow our business. We have targeted 300 million baht in loans within one year after launching the service," Ms Nayanee added.

Worachat Luxkanalode, executive director of Grab Thailand and Country Head of Grab Financial Group (Thailand), said the promotion of financial inclusion among Thai people is one of the key objectives of Grab Financial Group.

He added that over the past three years, Grab has teamed up with Krungsri to offer a comprehensive range of products to cater to the needs of low-income earners who are underbanked such as personal loan and instant cash loan for GrabFood merchant partners and personal loan for driver partners.

Vee Charununsiri, head of the lending department at Grab Financial Group Thailand, added that this new product leverages new technology, the alternative data derived from the transactions of users on the platform, and machine learning algorithms used for financial behaviour analysis, in order to establish a more accurate loan underwriting and approval process and better satisfy users' preferences.

Tookdee convenience stores under the Carabao group.


Meanwhile, SCB Abacus, SCB X's digital lending platform, has achieved Series B funding worth US$20 million (around 700 million baht) from both local and international shareholders.

The proceeds will be used for business expansion and growing digital loans on the SCB Abacus platform under the marketing name MoneyThunder.

Sutapa Amornvivat, SCB Abacus chief executive, said the successful funding is because the company has a clear mission of helping those with low credit or those who have difficulties getting loans to access loans via its MoneyThunder app.

The company has deployed artificial intelligence and a machine learning system to enhance the app lending, she added.

There have been more than 8 million downloads of MoneyThunder, of which more than 50% of users had previously been rejected by banks when applying for loans, and around 40% had been loan shark borrowers.

Around 15% of users are entrepreneurs who are aged 20-25.

SCB Abacus aims to serve 10% of Thai borrowers who have difficulty in accessing a loan, or about 2.5 million people, by 2024.

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