Thailand’s KBank increasing access for the unbanked

KBank, one of Thailand’s largest commercial banks, will invest over $3 billion to increase access to financial services among the “unbanked” – lower income people and micro businesses outside the banking system – an inclusive move that empowers hard-working sectors of society.

Development experts and economists believe that by extending financial services to more sectors of society, countries could harness untapped economic power, boost economic growth, reduce poverty and inequalities and make societies more stable.

The United Nations has confirmed that financial inclusion is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where it is featured as a target in eight of the 17 goals. KBank’s new policy supports the Kingdom’s efforts to achieve the SDGs. Thailand leads all other countries in Southeast Asia on progress towards fulfilling the SDGs.

KBank’s new approach is also in line with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s strategy for growth that builds a better future. The Prime Minister recently said that the strategy focuses on infrastructure, industrial development and banking. Prayut added that the government aims to ensure access to the banking system and financial services for 30 million people through the implementation of modern technologies.

KBank announced that it plans to enable financial inclusion through the use of digital technologies.

“We are taking a bold step, and, through technological leadership, aim to transform banking in Thailand in ways that can help more people enter the banking system and benefit from banking products and services,” said Kattiya Indaravijaya, Chief Executive Officer of KBank.

New technologies allow financial institutions to gauge the ability of lower income people seeking loans to repay them even though they may not have the collateral, documentation or track records that most banks require.

“These more sophisticated evaluations of a small customer’s potential to be a responsible borrower will enable millions more individuals, the self-employed, and very small businesses to enter the banking system as well as free many from the debt trap of loan sharks,” Kattiya said.

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