Banks keen on crowd-funding operation

Economy March 09, 2016 01:00

By
SUCHEERA PINIJPARAKARN
THE

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SOME COMMERCIAL banks have asked the Bank of Thailand how they can become crowd-funding operators, said Tongurai Limpiti, deputy BOT governor for financial institutions’ stability.



At a press briefing on the role of the central bank in regulating payment systems, she said the rules would become more flexible to comply with the scale of business and regulations should not be a barriFer to innovation.

The goal of the BOT is to facilitate smooth payment systems.

Legislation on payment systems is expected to be approved soon, which will give the BOT additional tools to regulate non-banks and financial-technology (fintech) operators.

The current authority to regulate non-banks, credit cards and e-money falls under the Revolutionary Council Order No 58, she said.

Fintech is regarded as a new innovation in the financial system and there are rising numbers of fintech operators in Thailand, which is changing the landscape for commercial banks, Tongurai said. Banks are interested in being crowd-funding operators by setting up online portals.

“We consider that fintech, either peer-to-peer lending or crowd-funding, should be regulated, as this will be useful for the country,” Tongurai said. But such legislation is awaiting the green light from the Council of State.

She said the central bank recently asked a peer-to-peer (P2P) fintech operator, satangdee.com, to stop lending because its business was regarded as an informal finance company.

Satangdee.com “asked the central bank to clarify the scope of the business and we suggested that it halt its lending until we have certain legal authority to regulate fintech firms”, she said. The BOT recently invited commercial banks to express their views on financial technology.

“It commercial banks look at fintech operators as rivals, they will face more challenges, but if they look at them as partners, the banks will see more business opportunities, especially with telecommunication companies,” she said. The BOT plans to set up a payment gateway, but it will be available only to commercial banks in order to keep settlement risk manageable. In time, telecom operators might be invited to participate in the gateway, as they have the necessary infrastructure.