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SME Bank board sacks president

THE BOARD of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand has fired the bank's president, Manoonrat Lertkomolsuk, saying he had failed his six-month performance evaluation.

Naris Chaiyasoot, the board chairman and director-general of the Finance Ministry's Treasury Department, said yesterday that the directors unanimously decided to terminate Manoonrat's contract after he failed to meet performance targets.

The termination will officially come into effect within 30 days, but the board decided to have Manoonrat stop working immediately. He will receive compensation of six months' salary.

The board appointed SME Bank vice president Parichat Laothirasiri-wong acting president.

Before yesterday's board meeting, a number of the bank's employees gathered to call for Naris' dismissal if the board did not approve four-month bonuses for them. They also requested that the board continue working with Manoonrat for at least six months. They threatened to strike if the board did not follow their requests.

Naris told the employees that management had yet to propose the bonus issue for the board's consideration. He denied a report that the board had withheld approval for bonuses.

Bonus payments at SME Bank are supposed to follow a Cabinet resolution of July 2, 2013. Last year, the bank recorded Bt656 million in unaudited net profit, which resulted from a rehabilitation plan approved by the Finance Ministry in January 2013, before Manoonrat took office as bank president.

On employee suspicions that computer procurement had lacked transparency and that Manoonrat did not sign on to the purchase, Naris said the procedure was transparent and no one had benefited unduly. The procurement procedure is awaiting approval, while the bank is leasing computers that have not reached full capacity.

Last year, SME Bank solved about Bt9.5 billion of bad debts. The amount of outstanding bad debts at the end of last year was Bt31 billion, or 33.74 per cent of Bt93 billion in outstanding loans. The bank posted a net profit of Bt407.44 million for last year's operations, compared with a loss of Bt4.04 billion in 2012.


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