BBL prepares for in-app advisory feature

BBL prepares for in-app advisory feature

Squeezing income from digital platform

Bangkok Bank (BBL) plans to add an advisory feature to the Bualuang m-Banking mobile app in March as a means to generate fee income from the digital platform.

The new feature, covering mutual funds and bancassurance, will focus on transactional banking services to provide more convenience for customers and generate higher fee income for the bank, said executive vice-president Prassanee Ouiyamaphan.

BBL continues to expand financial products to traditional channels, while the digital platform will create more business opportunities and fee-based income.

Mrs Prassanee said the bank aims to offer digital loans to new customers through a partnership strategy.

The country's third-largest lender by assets has collaborated with Kerry Express Thailand to offer digital loans to online merchants who are also clients.

Partnership is a key strategy to expand digital loans covering both secured and unsecured financing this year. The two parties have collaborated with other business partners across several industries, including healthcare, for digital loan business expansion.

The bank's data analytics development will be a tool for BBL to keep a lid on bad loans.

The bank has begun with granting digital loans for its payroll customer base. This initial move has delivered positive growth so far, with a low non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of below 2%.

With these positive indicators, BBL is confident about the extension of digital lending services to new markets this year, Mrs Prassanee said.

With additional features and entry into the new customer segment, the bank aims to have 10 million Bualuang m-Banking users by the end of the year and 11 million users in 2021, up from 8.2 million at the end of 2019.

"Over the past three years, digital transactions growth averaged 120% per year," Mrs Prassanee said. "With these positive signs, the bank should adopt new features to match customers' real needs."

In the same period, banking transactions made at brick-and-mortar branches and ATMs started to decline by 1-2%.

The bank plans to monitor the changing behaviour of consumers to bring traditional channels in line with demand across segments.

BBL is also focused on security amid exponential growth in digital banking transactions, Mrs Prassanee said, noting that BBL had no system crashes in the final quarter of last year.

Moreover, the bank informed mobile banking users about the Bank of Thailand's security system requirements for mobile banking devices two months before the regulator's announcement.

No devices with obsolete operating systems that are rooted or jailbroken have been spotted because the bank does not allow these devices to access Bualuang m-Banking, in compliance with the central bank's requirements.

BBL shares closed Friday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 154.50 baht, unchanged, in trade worth 977 million baht.

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