The total price tag for government-led stimulus programs in the Asia/Pacific region will easily tip over US$1.5 trillion by mid-2009. This massive injections of liquidity will up the ante in the already fierce competition of banks. In Thailand for example, Bangkok Bank has proven that bank network reach is still king, as the bank won the right to distribute stimulus checks for over 10 million Thai citizens. A reported price of 2 baht per check is loose change for a giant institution, but is not a laughing matter either, given the ardent competition for every revenue generation opportunity.
Meanwhile, banks are expected to realign their loan growth targets as governments highlight priority sectors and greenlight huge infrastructure build-outs. Financial Insights Asia/Pacific's average loan growth estimates for 12 key Asia/Pacific markets is now at 8.7%, reduced further from previous estimates of 10.3% in November 2008. We will get a clearer picture of the aggregate and sectoral loan growth numbers by June 2009. However, we are certain that growth rates in 2009 will still be robust relative to the dire predictions in the United States and Europe. Respectable growth rates are expected out of countries with large populations such as China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Technology implications for banks?
Banks that are able to showcase operational efficiency aside from reach and distribution will win in the governments' cash-to-the-public programs. In the public spending side, key factors of success will be capability to build out lending models and the capability to scale up growth in priority sectors. Further, loan origination systems was a strong initiative for banks in the Asia/Pacific region prior to the crisis, and will be critical area of focus now.
We estimate that about 60% of loan origination systems of the top 250 Asia/Pacific banks were (and are still) outdated and could not cope with an upsurge in lending. Leading banks are expected to invest heavily in modeling and analytics (good news for leading players like SAS, FICO, etc). Building of course on quality data, these investments in scoring, models, and analytics will help in key areas such as decisioning, pricing, servicing, fraud prevention, and even collections and recovery
The full report, Asia/Pacific Banking in 2009: Opportunities Amid a Crisis, is available on the Financial Insights' Web site.