Krungthai Bank is a leading financial institution in Thailand with a mission to empower better life for all Thais and a vision of ‘Growing Together for Sustainability’. Due to the Covid-19 situation, Thailand has been going through an economic downturn in the past three years. Thus, the role of Krungthai Bank to help the people of Thailand to grow sustainably and to have better life, as well as its role to support the government in implementing measures as the only state-owned commercial bank in Thailand, has become even more vital. With its outstanding contributions in economic, social, and environmental development, Krungthai Bank won Best CSR Bank Thailand 2022 and its CEO, Mr. Payong Srivanich, won Banking CEO of the Year Thailand 2022 at the 2022 Global Banking & Finance® Awards.
Apart from providing supportive measures to help its customers affected by the pandemic outbreak, Krungthai Bank has leveraged its technological and digital capacity, especially its open digital platform Pao Tang mobile application, to support the government in helping the people of Thailand during the crisis while at the same time driving the country towards digital economy. The application enables the government to transfer relief money directly to the people in an efficient, speedy, and transparent manner that is less prone to corruption. The relief schemes rolled-out via Pao Tang evidently lightened the people’s financial burden in daily life and encouraged domestic consumption to stimulate the sluggish economy and help small businesses survive. One of such schemes that achieved huge success is the Half-half co-payment scheme; its third phase in 2020 generated cash flow of up to 220 billion Baht in the economy. The application is also used to facilitate Covid-19 management, for instance, it is used as the registration platform for Bangkok mass vaccination program and the distribution of antigen test kits.
Besides Covid-19 relief, the application also offers financial services that contribute to building better financial health to its 34 million and growing users. Savings and investment options, such as government savings bonds, corporate bonds, and gold trading, are offered digitally on Pao Tang, allowing people to access and benefit from the services more safely and conveniently. Advanced technology and strategic partnering enable the bank to offer an extensive range of financial services and beyond, which help to develop the people’s quality of life by giving them equal, transparent, and effective access to financial services, accelerating digital adoption and digital inclusion, as well as uplifting digital literacy, which are fundamental to the transition to the digital economy of the future and the country’s sustainable growth.
With a strong sense of corporate social responsibility, Krungthai Bank optimizes its core competencies to address environmental and social issues in Thailand and aspires to grow together sustainably with all sectors of the society. Its flagship CSR project, ‘Krungthai Go-Local, Grow-Local’ which started in 2019, is a community development project which aims to strengthen the community’s foundation by creating jobs, improve the community’s local products and services as well as marketing capacity, and provide it with financing and other financial solutions that it needs to grow. The project is based on the principle of self-reliance and the philosophy of sufficiency economy, aiming to make the community less dependent on the outside and relying on its potential, resources, wisdom, way of life, culture, and local environment. The bank takes on the role of the development facilitator and lets the local people formulate development guidelines and activities, which is a brilliant move to gain buy-in from the locals and make the development more sustainable in the long run. Moreover, believing that sound financial health is the foundation of strong and resilient households, communities and economies, the bank helps to improve financial literacy and introduces financial technologies to the locals, so that they can achieve financial stability and hence better life. There are currently 11 communities participating in the project. Another contribution is through its green financing programs for eco-friendly businesses and those aiming to reduce their environmental impact. This supports Thailand’s decarbonization goal and Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economic Model. Since 2020, the Bank has provided credit facilities of over 10 billion Baht in total to eco-friendly businesses.
Despite its past image of being a bulky, slow-moving, incumbent bank falling behind in the fast-changing digital banking landscape, Krungthai Bank is now at the forefront of the digital banking scene in Thailand, leading the way in innovation not only in the banking sector, but across Thailand’s financial system. This is reflected in the number of users on Krungthai’s digital platforms; over 40 million users on its Krungthai NEXT mobile banking application and Pao Tang, accounting for more than half of Thailand’s population, 1.5 million sellers on Tung Ngern merchant application, and 16 million users on Krungthai Connext service on LINE application. Behind the success is the bank’s CEO, Mr. Payong Srivanich, and his strong leadership and vision that has won him the Banking CEO of the Year Thailand 2022 award. Realizing that the bank was lagging behind in the digital realm, he opted for the ‘2-Banking Models’ or carrier-speedboat dual strategy to ensure the most optimal and speedy results. In this strategy, the carrier safeguards the traditional banking business while the fully-agile speedboat explores new opportunities, extends partnership with public and private organizations and builds ecosystems to create new revenue generation, and subsequently new business models. After the establishment of Infinitas by Krungthai in 2020, Arise by Infinitas was set up in 2021 to seek and build tech talents who will work towards the mission to transform and drive Thailand towards the digital economy. This shows that Krungthai Bank is very determined to up its digital game, not only to gain a competitive edge but also to develop the country’s digital financial infrastructure and workforce that the country and its people can benefit from, both in the battle against the Covid-19 crisis and in the long run.