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Banks boosts cash reserves

Despite the muted spending, six large banks believe that consumers have a pent-up urge to splurge at tourist attractions upcountry over the long New Year holiday and have pumped up their cash reserves by 18 per cent.

The six commercial banks have prepared Bt236.08 billion, up from Bt200 billion last New Year, for withdrawals at ATMs and branches.

Krungthai Bank has stocked up Bt71.33 billion in cash to facilitate spending from December 26-January 2, up 23.84 per cent from Bt57.60 billion during the same period last year.

Weidt Nuchjalearn, first senior executive vice president of KTB, said yesterday that the bank expects the long holidays will encourage more tourists to visit attractions upcountry, so it will allocate more cash to the provinces than Bangkok.

The bank plans to open more than 10 foreign exchange booths at major tourism destinations such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hua Hin next year to cope with the rises in foreign tourist arrivals and spending by travellers.

The bank currently operates 92 forex booths.

Bangkok Bank has set aside Bt50 billion in cash for its 8,300 ATMs nationwide for the December 28-January 1 period, compared to just Bt40 billion last year.

BBL noted in its statement that customers could use the bank's services at more than 200 micro branches in shopping malls and communities nationwide, which will be open for business every day during New Year.

The bank will resume normal operations on January 2.

The bank will closely monitor and refill ATMs in major travel areas and at popular spots nationwide.

Siam Commercial Bank has increased cash holdings for ATMs to Bt52 billion from Bt48.50 billion last year.

Kasikornbank has Bt46.5 billion of cash available for withdrawal at its ATMs and branches, up by Bt6 billion.


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