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KBank going after customer groups to build retail base

Kasikornbank is eyeing educational institutions, local soccer clubs and payroll customers as a shortcut to building its retail customer base.

"Bunch acquisition is part of the sub-segmentation strategy," Pakorn Partanapat, executive vice president, said yesterday.

The bank targets 3.3 million new accounts this year after attracting more than a million accounts in the first half.

It wants to grow its accounts quickly, so it is looking at approaching customers in groups.

Competition does not support the defensive strategy of waiting for individual customers to walk in and apply for savings accounts at branches, Pakorn said.

The bank is in talks with universities to provide debit cards to their students as a convenience in paying educational expenses such as tuition.

Students are part of the young generation, which is a key target of the bank. It wants to secure them early so that it will be their main bank when they become middle-income earners in the future.

Mass and middle-income customers make up 90 per cent of personal accounts at the KBank. This segment is significant for the bank because it can cross-sell products to them in the long run.

The debit card is a basic product and when customers want to apply for one, they have to open a savings account.

The bank is interested in marketing savings accounts and debit cards to football club members. It can bundle privileges with the clubs so that fans can use their affiliated debit card to buy souvenirs and tickets.

"We are interested in expanding customers by sub-segmentation. Presentations of financial products will be centred on the interests of each customer group. For instance, KBank has partnered with Ducati Thailand to introduce the limited-edition Ducati Debit Card," he said.

In the first half, KBank's fee income from debit and ATM cards increased by 9 per cent and from retail banking by 22 per cent on year to Bt12.90 billion.

By year-end, KBank aims for 14 million accounts.

KBank's retail banking this year targets deposit growth of 6-8 per cent and loan growth of 6-9 per cent even though growth in the first half was only 1 per cent.

The second half is the high season and when economic prospects are returning to normal, spending by the mass market and middle-income earners is expected to beat the first half. Defaults in the second half are also expected to decline.

Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, executive vice president, said KBank was still cautious about the personal-loan segment even though it has room to grow because its portfolio is small at Bt15 billion to Bt16 billion.

"The high household debt ratio is a worry for us, so our personal loans have to focus on monthly income of Bt15,000-Bt20,000 for self-employed customers," he said.


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