Digital banking surges in sea change (Bangkok Post)

The pandemic has ravaged businesses and forced social distancing, spiking demand for remote and digital services as well as online banking.

Opening bank accounts online has surged after all commercial and state banks closed all branches nationwide during March 28-29 and banned account opening services for another eight days due to crowds of people inside and outside several branches one day ahead of the application period for the government’s 5,000-baht monthly cash handout.

These trends are helping banks acquire new customers at an unprecedented rate as more people shift to the digital channel for banking transactions.

Kasikornbank (KBank), the country’s largest lender by assets and leading digital banking service provider, recorded 30,000 new K-eSavings accounts opened during the 10 days when all banks banned opening new accounts in person, said senior executive vice-president Wirawat Panthawangkun.

The 30,000 accounts represent 25% of those who applied for K-eSavings accounts during the period.

To open an K-eSavings account, applicants are required to apply and fill in personal information through KPlus and they must verify their identity at the bank’s ATMs to complete the account opening process.

The bank launched K-eSavings accounts a while ago, but growth was insignificant.

There are around 1,000-2,000 applicants every day for deposit products, but only 10-15% completed the identity authentication process through ATMs.

The bank will spend more time analysing the financial behaviour of the new depositors to gauge their potential as longer-term customers, as some may only be using the bank’s accounts for government assistance.

“Technology will provide customers more convenience and control the risk of the virus spreading among both staff and clients,” he said.

“The bank has been developing digital banking services in response to customers’ requirements and will continue to improve the experience.”

Mr Wirawat said the bank has adopted both web and app-based services to better keep pace with customer requirements, particularly in lending services that include the debt relief scheme.

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Bangkok Post

14 April 2020

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