SCB X keen on novel banking opportunity
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SCB X keen on novel banking opportunity

Move contingent on BoT's licensing rules

Consumers use ATM services at a branch of Siam Commercial Bank. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Consumers use ATM services at a branch of Siam Commercial Bank. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

SCB X, the holding company of Siam Commercial Bank, is interested in setting up a virtual bank, aiming to explore new business opportunities.

The company is keen to apply for a virtual bank licence from the Bank of Thailand, pending the central bank's publication of the virtual bank licensing regulations, said chief executive Arthid Nanthawithaya at a shareholders' extraordinary general meeting on Thursday.

Mr Arthid did not specify a time frame for seeking a licence, only indicating the goal is operating a virtual bank within a few years, based on the central bank's licensing timeline.

Many large companies have expressed an interest in applying for one of the planned virtual banking licences. Earlier Payong Srivanich, president of state-owned Krungthai Bank, said the bank plans to partner with telecom operator Advanced Info Service on a plan to jointly invest in a virtual bank, aiming to serve both existing and new customers.

Recently SET-listed Jay Mart, a holding firm engaged in IT retail, finance and technology, said it is interested in applying for a virtual banking licence.

Meanwhile, SCB X's shareholders on Thursday approved issuing debentures worth 100 billion baht, either in baht or another currency, depending on the objective of the proceeds.

The 100 billion baht in fundraising from the bond market is expected to be used in three years, allocated at 20-30 billion baht per year.

"The proceeds are not for the establishment of a virtual bank," said Mr Arthid.

"If the company decides to set up a virtual bank in the next three years, we could raise new funds for that objective."

Part of the proceeds will be used to support business operations of the company's subsidiaries, he said.

Under a three-year plan covering 2022-24 for its subsidiaries, several companies set aggressive plans for expansion that involved digital loans.

In addition, the company plans to use the proceeds for other investment opportunities, including digital assets, Mr Arthid said at the meeting.

Shareholders asked about the cancellation last year of the joint venture deal between SCB X and Bitkub at the meeting on Thursday.

Vichit Surapongchai, board chairman at SCB X, said the company would consider any investment deals prudently.

If there are uncertainties around a deal, the company needs to stop the deal based on cautious consideration under a proper risk management analysis.

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