August 09, 2014 01:00 By Sucheera Pinijparakarn
CIMB Thai Bank yesterday opened a flagship branch as part of a new retail banking strategy focused on serving local wealthy customers and Asean clients.
It is the first flagship branch to be established by any of its parent company CIMB Group’s foreign units, said Subhak Siwaraksa, president and chief executive of CIMB Thai.
CIMB Group is based in Malaysia.
CIMB Thai has invested around Bt20 million in the 2,000-square-metre branch and added staff and services that are different from those available at its existing branches, he said.
The new branch has a staff of 50, of whom 27 are relationship managers. Unlike its traditional branches, which each have about 10 employees, the new Silom Road outlet provides a safety-deposit-box service for customers, he said.
Narongchai Wongthanavimok, senior executive vice president, said the flagship branch would reinforce customer segmentation, especially for the bank’s “Preferred” wealthy customers, by offering a full range of financial services, including products of CIMB Principal Asset Management and CIMB Securities.
Silom Road in central Bangkok was chosen as the location because of its high visibility among foreigners, he said, adding that apart from retail customers, the branch would service cross-border transactions for local and Asean corporates and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The CIMB Thai flagship branch has two storeys, with the upper floor set to facilitate private banking and corporate customers.
Assets under management (AUM) of CIMB Thai private-banking customers currently stand at about Bt50 billion.
However, under the new retail banking strategy, the bank’s main focus will not be on sustaining AUM, as it wants to increase clients’ product holdings in order to expand revenue, said the executive.
Narongchai said the bank had seen a rise in cross-border transactions, most of which are outbound as Thai companies are expanding their business in Asean, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Revenue from servicing cross-border transactions for Thai companies in Asean runs into several hundred million baht a year.
CIMB Thai has set up Asean desks to cater for cross-border transactions from Asean companies doing business in Thailand, as well as for Thai companies looking at business expansion within Asean, he said.
CIMB Thai recently was the financial adviser to Thai energy company B Grimm Power over the acquisition of two power plants from Malaysia’s Sime Darby Energy.
Subhak said the bank currently had up to 10 deals in hand, including Thai corporates that are acquiring businesses in Indonesia and Malaysia, and Malaysian and Singaporean companies that are planning to set up joint-venture companies with local corporates.
The asset size of each deal is in the region of Bt4 billion to Bt5 billion, said the bank’s chief.