Siam Commercial Bank and its subsidiaries announced net profit of Bt7.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 and Bt40.1 billion for 2018 - based on unaudited consolidated financial statements - a 7.1-per cent year-on-year decrease from 2017.
The bank said in a press release on Friday that total operating income increased 1.5 per cent yoy to Bt138.2 billion as net interest income (NII) rose 4.4 per cent yoy.
However, Non-NII declined 4.7 per cent yoy mainly due to digital fee waiver, a slowdown in the insurance business, and lower fee income from international trade in the second half of 2018.
Moreover, higher expenses associated with investment in the Transformation Program over the past three years had raised the bank's cost-to-income ratio to 46.8 per cent. The higher cost-to-income ratio is within the expected range of 45-47 per cent and will steadily come down as the benefits from the Transformation Program kick in, starting from 2019, the bank said.
Arthid Nanthawithaya, president and CEO, said: "Despite a slight decline in earnings, our core business remains strong while our digital customer base has become significantly larger and more engaged as we continue to grow our business.
“The bank's operating cost which has risen during the high investment cycle necessitated by the Transformation Program is temporary and we expect the cost-to-income ratio to improve over time.
“In 2019, we will direct our efforts towards realising value from the Transformation Program to deliver distinctive customer experiences and differentiated value proposition. We will also focus on driving the organisation to embrace a customer-centric culture with a mindset to strive for greater speed, agility and innovation while adhering to proper risk management practices."