CIMB Thai says it aims to transform its business into a digital operation under what it calls a ‘Fast Forward’ project to boost digital services and promote the development of a cashless society.
Under the project, the bank aims to become a mid-tier bank in the next few years. The bank also plans to expand growth in loans and deposits by about 5 per cent by the end of this year.
Kittiphun Anutarasoti, president and chief executive officer at CIMB Thai, said the bank would transfer more than 200 of its working processes into the digital realm, such as for e-loans, e-payments and e-wallet services “to support the development of the cashless society in the near future as well as transform existing branches into smart |brand or wealth branches”.
The bank will provide new services in the third quarter of this year, such as for QR code payments and e-loan services to meet the demands of customers in the digital era.
“The bank will also focus on small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) customers, open mini branches in supermarkets to offer services for account openings, deposits, loan applications and international remittance and banking agent services, a new dimension of digital banking solutions under the brand Beat Banking as well as launch the Beat Savings, a deposit account on mobile phones with high interest rate in order to increase customer bases, productivity and efficiency of business as a whole,” Kittiphun said.
“This year will be the year that CIMB Thai fully pursues the ‘Fast Forward’ project and will gradually follow the plan through over this year and the next. CIMB Thai is confident that the bank’s performance will remain strong, continuing from the previous year. From 2018-19 marks the first stage of the Fast Forward project under which the bank pursues its journey to become among the most robust of Asean banks in Thailand with the scale of a mid-tier bank.
“After the bank has implemented the transformation plan, the increase in manpower for the bank’s potential business will be continued this coming year.”
He said that this year the banking sector is expected to continue the momentum from the previous year, noting that the economic recovery has been fuelled by growth across a wide range of sectors. He said that in 2018 the country’s economic growth is expects strengthen, building on the recovery seen in 2017.
“The economic recovery has been mainly driven by an expansion in the export and tourism sectors, while domestic consumption appears to have recovered but not yet at the broad-based level,” Kittiphun said.
“Apart from the export and tourism sectors, the other key drivers include the recovery in households’ purchasing power and investment growth is likely to be clearly seen during the second half of 2018.”
Kittiphun also cited the government’s progress in rolling out developments in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) under a plan to develop the eastern areas as the key investment hub of Thailand.
“The government has launched measures to support and accelerate economic growth in the EEC through the 10 target industries, comprising the existing five industries such as automotive, electronics and tourism, and the five new industries including robotics, aviation and logistics, as well as healthcare that will be key drivers of the Thai economy,” he said.
“These target industries are expected to help in accelerating substantial foreign investment, the employment rate, the manufacturing sector - especially among SMEs, which are a key part of the supply chain for large corporates.
“The investment is expected to boost the recovery, with less concentration, and that will boost trust and aid the growth in the Thai economy.
He said that the bank plan to expand loans and deposit growth about by about 5 per cent while maintaining its net interest margin (NIM) over earning assets at around 3.8 per cent and manage the non-performing loan ratio to not exceed 5 per cent by the end of this year.