2022 Winner – Bank of Ayudhya: KMA Krungsri identifies a mobile opportunity – Retail Banker International Asia Trailblazer Awards




Bank of Ayudhya, commonly referred to as Krungsri, has won the Excellence in Client On-Boarding accolade at the virtual Retail Banker International (RBI) Asia-Pacific (APAC) Trailblazer Awards 2022, held on 23 June, for its upgraded Krungsri Mobile Application (KMA) in Thailand, which now comes with fully digital opening and authentication procedures.

In response to the recent Covid-19 inspired demand for ‘no contact’ personal loans during lockdowns in Thailand, Krungsri updated its mobile banking loan application procedure via the KMA app.

It accelerated plans to adopt full-scale digital technology for the Krungsri i-FIN loan product, so that mobile bank users can now experience the speed, convenience and power of digital account opening, identification (ID) processes without physically having to provide proof to in-branch staff, and management of loans on a handheld smartphone device.

By adopting full-scale end-to-end (E2E) digitalization of personal loans on KMA, the bank has maximized:

  • accuracy,
  • speed,
  • user experience (UX),
  • & now better satisfies busy customer needs for always- on 24x7 self-service capabilities, and during Covid-19 lockdowns for ‘no contact, no touch’ procedures.

Getting a Krungsri i-FIN personal loan with the new digital loan origination process now involves biometric technology (face recognition) for electronic e-KYC (know your customer) identity authentication. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is used to recognize text characters inside the image of the Thai Citizen ID Card. This automatically completes the information on KMA. Therefore, the customer now enjoys a holistic E2E digital personal loan application experience that is secure, convenient, fast & accurate. Online and offline support is available every step of the way along the customer journey.

The old way of getting a loan meant visiting a branch with limited opening hours, especially during Covid-19, assembling a number of paper documents, perhaps scheduling a meeting on messenger to do an ID check, if a branch manager wasn’t around, and so on. All of that is gone. It’s been washed away by a digital wave. Electronic e-signature and e-consent were adopted alongside the ability to upload files into the now fully digitalized procedure in order to eliminate paper and close the digital loop. Krungsri has further developed its offering by joining forces with other Thai banks to pilot a cross-bank customer ID authentication service through the Thai National Digital ID (NDID) platform, enhancing the seamless customer experience (CX). This industry e-KYC utility service connects information using the blockchain under the auspices of the Bank of Thailand (BoT). Krungsri also uses NDID for its separate Kept digital offering that won a different RBI APAC Award this year for Best On-boarding.

Customer journey flexibility
An alternative ID service is available to users who aren’t yet familiar with this very new way of authenticating yourself. Instead, Krungsri customers can use more than 14,000 i-Confirm service points located in branches nationwide, or Counter Services at the 10,000 strong 7-Eleven convenience store network. This method is expected to decline but provides a useful transition option for the time-being and promotes inclusion, although obviously during Covid-19 it was sidelined.

Service quality hasn’t been neglected in the digital refresh, quite the opposite. A personalized communication tool has been added to KMA to suggest to customers a suitable alternative to proceed ahead with authentication, as above, if end users hit any snags. The personalization tool can also identify which chosen participating banks the customer has not yet provided biometric data to, and issue a prompt to do so if it is appropriate. In the case of drop-off all customer data is stored and forwarded to loan telesales staff in expectation of a call.

Unqualified customers using KMA to apply for a loan, such as those hitting a credit blacklist, are identified during an automated pre-screening process to minimize the number of cases sent to credit underwriting and thereby save expense.

At the final step, KMA can automate the creation of a new savings bank account, together with a personal loan account, as a single step measure to speed up loan disbursements or repayment options.

"Moving forward, the bank has plans to extend its KMA digital on- boarding capabilities into other areas, with mortgage loans the next stop on the rollout."

Benefits & next steps
Krungsri’s efforts have worked. Total loans approved on the mobile application rose more than 103% in Q4 2021 in comparison to the previous quarter, before the upgraded full scope KMA option was fully available. The total number of applications continued to grow at 172% v the previous quarter as word spread, and Covid-induced demand rose.

Moving forward, the bank has plans to extend its KMA digital on-boarding capabilities into other areas, with mortgage loans the next stop on the bank-wide rollout. It also wants to provide its lending services on other ecosystems by partnering with other online communities, such as shopping platforms for instance.

This would be in-line with the trend towards ‘Open Banking’ where data exchange is powered by the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs) that can orchestrate a connected, seamless experience, if properly configured. It would effectively be a ‘Lending-as-a- Service’ (LaaS) type offering.

Krungsri believes there is considerable growth in the ‘Open Banking’ era if it gets the right partners and API-driven connections. It also believes it is now ready to go after this potential growth area thanks to its fully digitized infrastructure and seamless on- boarding procedures.

Bank of Ayudhya, commonly known as Krungsri, was also HC: Highly Commended at the Retail Banker International (RBI): Asia-Pacific (APAC) Trailblazer Awards 2022 in the following categories: Best App for Customer Experience (CX); Best Core Banking System Initiative; and Best Use of Influencer Marketing.