Thai banks are leading innovators in coping with disruption

Thailand’s banks are staying a step ahead of disruptive technologies by adopting and developing the latest innovations in the industry, putting them ahead of many counterparts across the region, according to IDC, the United States-based global consulting firm.

Cyrus Daruwala, managing director of IDC Financial Insights Asia-Pacific, said that Thai banks, financial institutions, and insurance companies are showing they are more innovative than their peers in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan. He was speaking at the Asian Financial Services Congress 2019 held in Singapore.

Not long ago, Thai banks were regarded as conservative and lagging behind others in the region in terms of liberalization and technological advances. However, with the advent of blockchain, digital currencies, e-payments, and other higher-tech financial tools, Thai banks have shown a willingness to adopt new ways of doing business and also invest in startups developing new financial technologies or fintech.

“Executives of leading banks and insurance firms in Thailand are tech-savvy and realize the role of data utilization to monetize large customers and open them up for cross-collaboration with leading startups and retail companies,’’ Darwaia said.

IDC is forecasting that micropayments will steadily rise as more members of the public without bank accounts begin using e-wallets as data monetization continues to grow.

Michael Araneta, associate vice-president and head of IDC Financial Insights Asia-Pacific, urged Thai banks to form even more partnerships with fintech firms and startups to go even further in innovating.

Araneta said Thai financial customers are open to digital banking and transactions. Their openness will drive Thai banks to utilize open banking and artificial intelligence (AI) to process transactions initiated by third-party digital personal assistants.

Thailand banking customers scored well in the Digital Trust Index, a study published by IDC during 2017-18 that had 3,200 respondents in ten Asia-Pacific countries including 400 from Thailand.

Araneta said that 54 percent of Thai respondents expect that digital identity will be a real digital version of their physical identity, higher than the regional average of 32.6 percent.