By Somluck Srimalee
"Four of the digital solution branches will open in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai with a spending budget of Bt10 million per branch,” the bank’s president, Chatchai Payuhanaveechai, said in an interview. “They are a part of our business plan to open up to 18 branches in the second half of this year,” he added.
The digital solution branches will not have staff. The digital system will offer several services including deposits, withdrawals, loan preapprovals, applications for credit cards and debit card service.
The next 13 full branches will spend Bt20 million per branch. This will boost the number of the bank’s branches from 1,076 in the first half of this year – having opened 12 branches in the first half of this year – to 1,094 by the end of this year. This would make it the market leader for the most number of branches.
“We are ready to open new branches to serve our customers,” he said, adding the bank now has 30 million accounts from 20 million customers.
Although, the country is moving towards a digital economy, most of the bank’s customers continue to need physical banking services, especially people who live in the provinces, he said.
“We have to serve the upper income and low income customers nationwide, as we are a grass roots oriented bank,” he said.
GSB became the first bank to launch the QRCode payment system. The service is called ‘MyMo Pay’ and now has 1.5 million customer accounts registered. Registered customers can download the MyMo Pay service to get the QRCode for payment when buying products from businesses who have an account with the bank and are also registered as MyMo Pay members, he said.
The QRCode system aims to reduce the use of cash for payments. Customers can use the QRCode MyMo Pay to buy products from shops, use at restaurants, for taxis etc by showฌing their QRCode, which will be scanned and the process concludes without any outflow of cash.
“This will reduce the cost of holding cash and also there is no need for electronic data capture, as the shops, restaurants and other service providers do not need to pay a fee for QRCode service compared to payment of fees for credit card or debit card facilities,” he said.
However, the MyMo Pay member has to pay a monthly fee of Bt10 per month per account, he added.
Following the launch of the QRCode service last week, Chatchai said the bank targets business worth Bt1.5 billion this year. The bank is targeting Bt10 billion next year, as the number of registered members will increase from 1.5 million this year to 3.5 billion in the next year, an average increase of up to 2 million a year nationwide.
Meanwhile, the bank, in the first half of this year, provided net new loans of Bt70 billion, up 4.1 per cent from the end of last year. This keeps pace with its target for the year, while, its non performing loans (NPLs) recorded 2.34 per cent at the end of June, dropping 2.38 per cent on May this year.
“We are confident that the bank’s NPLs at the end of this year will be lower than the 2.34 per cent when now we have a policy to help our customers manage their debt,” he said.