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KBank adjusts lending policies

KASIKORNBANK, the biggest lender to small and medium-sized enterprises, is classifying which business sectors the bank should focus on, defining credit lines, and extending a helping hand to clients amid the prolonged political unrest.

Executive vice president Patchara Samalapa said that although it lent Bt15 billion last month, KBank's net lending dropped by Bt1 billion because of heavy repayments by SME borrowers. Businesses are tightening up on new investment and require only working capital, and have been rapidly repaying previous loans since November, he said.

"To achieve this year's loan-growth target of 9-10 per cent from the current outstanding loans of Bt502 billion, we have to grow by around 2 per cent each quarter. Therefore, we have categorised those segments that are still borrowing for new investment.

"At the same time, we will be more cautious on granting risky loans and offer measures to help our existing customers in some sectors that are facing cash-flow problems," he said.

KBank offers packages with a credit line of Bt2 billion to help its existing SME customers in the tourism and hospitality sectors while also extending repayment terms and grace periods. Hotel customers who want to make new investments will be offered a maximum 12-year instalment period.

Hotel operators can adjust their instalments according to the season, so in the low season, their payments can be smaller.

Restaurants and travel agencies that lack collateral will be offered a maximum credit line of Bt5 million, and SMEs that have collateral can acquire credit lines of 3.33 times collateral value.

To new customers in the tourism sector, the bank will offer a grace period of six months and a discount of 2 per cent from minimum loan rate (MLR).

Patchara said the bank was considering developing packages for agriculture-related SMEs as farmers are suffering from the long-delayed payments under the rice-pledging scheme.

The loan portfolio for agricultural SMEs is bigger than for the tourism sector, which is Bt15 billion. Of that figure, Bt3.5 billion is held by borrowers at high risk from the political rallies in Bangkok.

KBank yesterday in cooperation with the Tourism Council of Thailand, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion agreed to provide seminars for SMEs in four tourist-destination provinces.

Piyaman Tejapaibul, president of the TCT, said that even though the tourism sector was being affected by the ongoing political unrest, the council has not yet revised any figures on tourist numbers and revenue. The revenue target for this year is still Bt2 trillion, of which Bt1.3 trillion will be from outbound tourism.


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