Kasikornbank plans Asean branches to drive growth

Kasikornbank plans Asean branches to drive growth

Kasikornbank (KBank) plans to upgrade its three Asean representative offices to branches in a bid to strengthen its international operations amid deeper trade and investment integration.

The offices are in Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia, senior executive vice-president Pipit Aneaknithi said. Authorities are expected to allow foreign banks to open branches there to support economic growth.

Myanmar's authorities are expected to open a new round of foreign banking licences as it develops infrastructure with the help of foreign financial institutions, he said.

KBank is ready to apply for a licence.      

Bangkok Bank, the country's largest lender by assets, is the only Thai bank to have opened a branch in Myanmar.

A higher number of banks in Vietnam would facilitate the country's economic growth and encourage competition in the industry, Mr Pipit said.

With Indonesia having thousands of islands, it can be difficult for people to access banking services, so more banks are needed to serve the country's growth.

KBank already provides full banking operations in Laos and plans to upgrade its representative office in Cambodia to a branch in August.

Mr Pipit said digital banking would be a key strategy to support international expansion.

After the three representative offices are upgraded to branches, KBank will develop an integrated regional operation platform that will facilitate international expansion and control operational expenses.

KBank, Thailand's third-biggest lender in terms of assets, is waiting for a banking licence from China's authority. It is trying to acquire Shanghai-based Starbright Finance to support its expansion.

"After the three representative offices upgrade and we receive a licence in China, we may set up a regional head office to manage costs and human resources with more efficiency," Mr Pipit said.

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