KBank happy with junta's policies, hikes GDP forecast

Economy June 17, 2014 00:00

By Sucheera Pinijparakarn
The Na

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Kasikornbank has raised its GDP growth forecast to 2.3 per cent from 1.8 per cent this year in the belief that the economic measures of the junta will help spur consumption and investment in the second half.

Pakorn Partanapat, executive vice president of KBank, said yesterday that the bank’s research house – Kasikorn Research Centre – had cited several new factors for the revision – payment of Bt92 billion to rice farmers, appointment of the Board of Investment, reduction of the time needed to acquire a Ror Ngor 4 permit from the Industrial Works Department to open a factory to 30 days from 90, parameters for the state budget and resumption of infrastructure projects.
The boost to consumption and investment would benefit retail banking including credit-card spending, he said.
Next week KResearch will share its reading for the economy in the rest of this year.
KBank has left its retail-loan growth target at 6-9 per cent because it wants to grow from fee income more than interest income.
The bank hopes that when consumers have more confidence, credit-card spending in the second half will flourish. It is now fairly certain that its credit-card spending target for this year of 31 per cent is attainable; so far this year, it has risen 19 per cent.
The bank yesterday joined with Muang Thai Life Assurance to launch the Muang Thai Smile Credit Card, its latest co-branded card, aimed at boosting spending in the life-insurance category and accommodate Muang Thai Smile Club members.
Sara Lamsam, president and chief executive of the insurer, said Muang Thai Smile Club had 800,000 members. 
The company and KBank hope to issue 200,000 credit cards to them over the next three years. Muang Thai Life Assurance’s branches will accept applications for the cards.
Pakorn said co-branded cards were part of KBank’s strategy to boost credit-card spending. Insurance premiums account for the highest spending on credit cards, at 14 per cent.
KBank has 10 co-branded cards and has issued 700,000 them, which contribute 15 per cent of KBank’s credit-card spending.
“The role of co-brands is increasing. The spending with [co-branded cards] is healthy because the exclusive campaigns and privileges fit the lifestyle of cardholders,” he said.  
KBank aims to increase co-branded credit cards to 900,000 by year-end.