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SUNDAY, November 27, 2022
Nearly 3 in 4 Thais experienced drop in income due to pandemic

Nearly 3 in 4 Thais experienced drop in income due to pandemic

SUNDAY, July 24, 2022

Many Thais will switch banks in 2022 to chase better offers. Intent to switch in 2022 is notably higher than last year, especially for the mass affluent, an analytics firm said

70 per cent (nearly 3 in 4) of Thailand's retail banking consumers experienced a negative impact on their income due to the pandemic
Amidst an uncertain financial climate, the majority of banking consumers in Thailand will focus on savings (73 per cent) and investment (66 per cent) products

1 in 5 affluent Thai banking customers will consider switching banks in search of the most competitive banking deals.

RFI Global's 2022 Post-Pandemic Consumer Banking Expectations Report, prepared for FICO, a leading global software analytics firm, confirmed that the pandemic has aggravated financial hardship for retail banking consumers in Thailand, with nearly 3 in 4 experiencing a drop in income. It has also revealed that many are motivated to search for better banking offers and that the inclination to switch lenders has increased year over year.

Disruptive impacts from the pandemic differed across the region. 

While a considerable 23-30 per cent of New Zealand and Australian respondents experienced a negative impact, 40 per cent of Singaporeans and Indians, 50 per cent of Malaysians and 63 per cent of Indonesians saw a decline. Respondents in Thailand suffered the biggest blow, with 70 per cent saying their income had been reduced. 

The report uncovered that more than 1 out of 4 consumers across the Apac region (27 per cent) have deferred loan repayments, with consumers in some countries more likely to do so than others. While nearly half of retail banking customers in Thailand (47 per cent) and nearly 1 in 3 (31 per cent) in India deferred loan repayments as a result of COVID-19, this was much less common in Singapore (12 per cent), Australia (9 per cent) and New Zealand (7 per cent). 

Despite the uncertain financial climate, the majority of Thailand's retail banking customers plan to maintain or boost their investments (66 per cent). Most are looking to maintain or increase savings (73 per cent), and many will consider changing banking providers this year. 

Increase in customers' intention to switch banking providers 

Surprisingly, while the report indicates that most customers were highly satisfied with their main banking providers, up to 20 per cent of Apac banking customers who responded said they plan to change banks in 2022. In contrast, only 10 per cent said they changed banks in 2021.

This increased propensity to switch lenders is highest among the mass affluent (defined as the high end of the mass market or those with at least THB3,000,000 total investable asset holdings).

In Thailand, 13 per cent of retail banking customers and 8 per cent of mass affluent customers switched in 2021. That is set to more than double this year for the mass affluent, with 20 per cent saying they are very likely to switch. The propensity of retail banking consumers has fallen slightly to 10 per cent, which is still a considerable 1 in 10 banking customers.  

Top reasons cited by Thai respondents include a change in personal circumstances (28 per cent), a wish to consolidate all accounts with another institution (22 per cent), a desire for access to better investment and wealth management products and services (20 per cent) and incentive from another institution (20 per cent).

Financial impacts felt by even the wealthiest of Thais

Amongst mass affluent banking customers in Thailand, 63 per cent experienced a decrease in income due to the pandemic, 7 per cent less than the wider retail banking market in Thailand. Many (41 per cent) of the country's mass affluent deferred loan repayments, as a result, 6 per cent lower than Thailand's retail banking customers, overall.    

This disruption to income has left 37 per cent of affluent Thais saying they intend to reduce spending, just as half of Thailand's retail banking customers plan to do. 

Across Apac, the mass affluent are more likely to step up their borrowing compared to the wider market (16 per cent vs 8 per cent). In Thailand, the mass affluent are just about as likely to increase their borrowing as retail banking customers (11 and 12 per cent respectively). 

The report further revealed that a significant 78 per cent of Thailand's mass affluent are opting to maintain or boost their investment levels with banks, which is higher than the country's overall retail banking market (66 per cent). 

Impacts of the Pandemic on banking intentions

Consumers are changing their banking behaviours, in response to the financial impact of the pandemic. 

Just about 3 in 4 of Thailand's retail banking customers will either increase or maintain their savings (73 per cent). Across the region, the sentiment to maintain or increase savings was highest in New Zealand (94 per cent) and Indonesia (87 per cent).

Despite a dip in borrowing plans year over year, the level of borrowing for Apac retail banking customers remains higher than in pre-pandemic times as consumers deal with the lasting effects of the disruption.

"The pandemic has exacerbated financial hardship for customers regardless of income class," said Aashish Sharma, Senior Director of Decision Management Solutions for FICO in the Asia Pacific. "As borrowing and spending habits contract, customers will be on the lookout for avenues to grow their wealth and boost their savings. Banks must be able to proactively identify customers' needs, and pivot their approach to alleviate financial anxieties while ensuring their products suit customers' affordability and funding requirements." 

Gravitating towards Digital

Close to half of Thailand's respondents (44 per cent) still consider the proximity of branches and ATMs as a top determinant for the main banking provider; however, the report highlighted the importance of providing digital services. As many as 72 per cent of Apac retail banking customers chose a fintech product over the option to use their banks' main services. This was highest in Malaysia (94 per cent) and lowest in Australia (39 per cent). Respondents did so as they wanted time and cost savings, ease of use, and easier application processes.

Comparing 2021 to 2019, Apac consumers are increasingly gravitating toward digital channels at every stage of their application journey: initial enquiries and research (up 14 per cent), follow-up enquiries (up 15 per cent), and banking applications (up 15 per cent). 

How Banks can Ensure the Customer is at the Center of Actions and Decisions

Transform operations and data silos through the use of sophisticated analytics technology and centralized management platforms. 
Make data-driven decisions by predicting, analyzing and optimizing customer interactions in real time for an event-based, profile-driven approach to relationship management. 
Develop precise insights into optimal interactions and offers that would work best for customers. 

Create a digital twin (a type of virtual model used for simulation purposes) to leverage this continuous learning and test out radical new approaches and strategies in a low-cost, low-risk environment. 

Deliver hyper-personalized offers and customer actions in a scalable way 
"Banks must understand their customers' needs on a deeper and more granular level, or risk losing them to competitors and alternative providers," said Sharma. "Maintaining customer satisfaction alone will no longer suffice; customer experiences must be radically enhanced. Customer-centricity will be key to consistently delivering hyper-personalized experiences and retaining customers." 

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted in 2021 by an independent research company adhering to research industry standards. 1012 adults in Thailand were surveyed, along with 12,885 consumers in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia and India. 

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 200 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, manufacturing, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 120 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.