By THE NATION
Sasithorn Pongsathorn, president of LH Bank (part of Land and Houses Financial Group Plc), said the bank had appointed CP All – operator of more than 10,000 7-Eleven convenience stores in the country – as its banking agent, as it provides basic financial services for customers through counter service nationwide.
The bank will initially, through 7-Eleven convenience stores, provide deposit, fund transfer and payment of products and services with services expected to commence in June.
The move will help enlarge the former’s customer base in deposits particularly in provinces where it has little presence.
Having a banking agent will provide more convenience, as store customers will be able to make financial transactions, while the bank will be able to attract new customers, particularly in deposit services, said Pairath Trangarnrueng, executive vice president for LH Bank’s branch network administration group.
“A lot of customers are interested in opening deposit accounts with the bank, given its high deposit rates compared to market rates. But being a small bank with a limited number of branches, some customers are unable to access our services. Therefore, a banking agent – particularly 7-Eleven -–will be another channel for customers to gain easier access to the bank’s services,” he said.
This year, LH Bank’s number of branches is expected to remain unchanged at 128. In 2017, the bank had 133 branches in total.
In the past several years, the bank had the policy to increase the number of its branches in order to improve its assets size and garner a larger customer base, but gradually shut down branches last year as transactions at branches decreased, he said.
In 2018, transactions at branch locations declined by 30 per cent, while digital transactions particularly through mobile banking grew significantly. About 60,000 customers now use LH Bank’s mobile banking service, and the bank expects to raise the figure by 30 per cent this year.
LH Bank will, in 2019, manage prudently its loan portfolio, focusing mostly on loans with collaterals for better risk and non-performing loan management, said Pairath. So far, about 76 per cent of its loan portfolio is large-sized, 11 per cent SMEs and 13 per cent retail.