October 2, 2019 / 7:55 AM / in 6 months

Thailand's Kasikornbank to give Shopee e-commerce merchants loans

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s second-largest lender, Kasirkonbank Pcl (Kbank) will start giving digital loans to sellers on Sea Ltd’s e-commerce business Shopee, in the bank’s latest digital partnership, it said on Wednesday.

The tie-up will give online sellers access to loans of up to 600,000 baht ($19,570) and also offer advice and training, Kbank President, Patchara Samalapa, with sellers being able to obtain loans without submitting physical documents.

“We will serve online sellers who want to equip themselves and expand their business,” he said.

Thai bank earnings have been under pressure from a digital transaction fee waiver last year and slowing loan growth.

Kbank’s non-interest income fell 16% to 13.6 billion baht and loans grew 3.8% in the second quarter to end-June as Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy grew just 2.3% over the period, the weakest annual pace in nearly five years.

A simplified process will allow sellers to focus on growing their businesses without worrying about the administrative process of obtaining loans, Shopee Chief Operating Officer Terence Peng said.

The Shopee platform in Thailand features major brands and about 750,000 individual sellers.

Thai banks have turned to Thailand’s booming e-commerce sector to expand digital lending, which doubled to 334.2 billion baht in 2017, according to government data.

Last month, rival lender Siam Commercial Bank Pcl also announced a partnership to expand digital loans with Sea’s Thai unit.

Last year, Kbank invested $50 million in ride-hailing firm, Grab, and in July this year it introduced to merchants and Grab drivers personal loans, hire purchase and small business financing products.

Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Tom Hogue

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