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Foreign banks turning to innovative products

Foreign banks are focusing more on innovative products and marketing strategy to increase market share amid strong local competition. United Overseas Bank (Thai) has set an ambitious growth target of 20% for transaction banking this year and a doubling of corporate customers within 3-5 years. “Innovative products and the strong network of our parent, Singapore-based United Overseas Bank, will help us to achieve this aggressive goal despite the disadvantage that local branches of foreign banks have compared with Thai banks,” said Pipat Assamongkol, the executive director and head of transaction banking. Clients are served by 150 UOBT branches nationwide and those in 19 other countries where the bank operates.

Transaction banking covers cash management and international trade finance including payroll services, local and international money transfers and cheque collection. Mr Pipat said UOBT has lengthy experience in all these areas. “We’ve been providing these services to large corporate and multinational clients for years and are now targeting small and medium-sized enterprises as well,” he said. “We want to cover all segments to take advantage of the country’s robust economic growth and prepare for the Asean Economic Community in 2015.” Mr Pipat largely credited marketing strategy for the success of UOBT’s transaction banking services.

The client base for the bank’s payroll business has grown significantly, with no fees charged for ATM withdrawals by staff of client companies. Saksit Pitipongsoonthorn, a senior vice-president of Standard Chartered Bank (Thai), named marketing strategy and product features as core factors in his bank’s expanded retail banking business. A bank survey found Thai customers looked for convenience and simplicity when applying for financial products and services, prompting the introduction of the Smart Banking Pack. This new product bundles together ATM, debit card, SMS alert and online banking services for savings accounts. The Smart Banking Pack is expected to add another 2,000 savings accounts by year-end.

Source: Bangkok Post

ThaiVest Editorial Team

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