Thailand’s Kasikornbank to open first branch in Vietnam

BANGKOK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Thailand’s second-largest lender by assets, Kasikornbank Pcl, said on Monday it plans to open a branch in Vietnam’s commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City in the third quarter of this year to tap into the country’s growth.

“Attention is now focused on Vietnam as a regional investment hub that has attracted the world’s leading companies – including those from Thailand – thanks to its strong economy,” said executive vice president Pattarapong Kanhasuwan, noting its recovery should be helped by the country’s success containing COVID-19.

The move comes as other Thai banks have expanded in Southeast Asia.

Rival lender, Siam Commercial Bank Pcl last month became the first Thai bank to obtain a banking licence in Myanmar.

In 2019, Bangkok Bank Pcl made a $2.7 billion acquisition of Indonesia’s PT Bank Permata.

Kasikornbank’s new branch, which gained regulatory approval in January, will provide services to local customers, including Thai and foreign businesses investing in Vietnam.

It is targeting lending of 10 billion baht ($333.11 million)in its first year of operations, while investing in startups in digital technology, it said in a statement.

Other services planned for the future include retail banking, such as deposits and personal loans. ($1 = 30.0200 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng Editing by Ed Davies)