BANGKOK, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Thailand’s Kasikornbank Pcl said on Tuesday it plans to open a second branch in Laos and upgrade the status of its local bank in China in 2017 as part of a regional expansion.
With assets of $68 billion, Thailand’s fourth-largest lender by assets is looking to open branches in Vietnam, Indonesia and Myanmar by 2018, the bank’s president, Kattiya Indaravijaya, told a news conference.
Loans and assets from foreign operations accounted for less than 5 percent of the bank’s current total loan portfolio, and the proportion is expected to gradually increase over the next few years, she added.
Like other major Thai banks, Kasikornbank is looking to expand its business in fast-growing economies in Southeast Asia to help offset a slowdown in the domestic market.
Kasikornbank is aiming at a loan growth of 4-6 percent in 2017 - assuming the Thai economy would grow 3.3 percent next year - and expected its non-performing loans to make up 3.3-3.4 percent of total loans, Kattiya said.
In the first nine months, the bank’s loans grew 5 percent, versus a target of 6-7 percent for the whole of 2016, she said.
The bank targets loan growth from retail clients at 5-7 percent next year when the number of it retail customers is expected to rise to 14.1 million, up 5-6 percent on year, the bank’s president said.
Loan growth for large companies and small to medium sized firms is targeted at 4-6 percent next year, she said.
Kasikornbank aimed to spend 4 billion baht on developing information technology (IT) next year to maintain its leading position in digital banking, the bank’s president in charge of IT, Teeranun Srihong, said ($1 = 35.5700 baht) (Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong)