Top bankers pledge support to businesses affected by Covid-19 until early next year
As economic recovery remains fragile, the country's leading bankers said they would provide financial support to businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), until next year.
The move follows the end of the blanket debt holiday supported by the Bank of Thailand in October.
Financial aid for groups in need will focus on debt restructuring and helping debtors to increase their ability to repay debt, according to the top five bankers.
Manop Sangiambut, first executive vice president at Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), estimated that his bank needed to extend financial aid to debtors whose combined loans amount to about Bt300 billion of the loan portfolio of Bt630 billion in the third quarter of this year.
Non-performing loans are expected to rise as the economy has not yet returned to growth, he said. The tourism industry is the most affected by the economic slowdown combined with the Covid-19 fallout, he added.
Pipatpong Poshyanonda, president of Kasikornbank, shared a similar view, saying the economic trend remains in negative territory, while the hotel and property sectors are facing oversupply. Our bank would not focus on lending more, but would focus on helping debtors to enhance their ability to repay debt, he said.
“The bank's loans could expand as the bank lends more to AEC+3 [Asean Economic Community plus China, Japan and South Korea],” he added.
Chartsiri Sophonpanich, president of Bangkok Bank, said the bank’s loan quality has slightly deteriorated, but it was not a cause for concern. The bank would support all groups of borrowers, especially SMEs and the property sector, until next year, he added.
Payong Srivanich, president and CEO of Krungthai Bank, said SMEs remained fragile while bad debts would not change much. “We would focus on debt restructuring rather than loan growth,” he added.
Prakob Phiencharoen, executive vice president at Krungsri Bank, said tourism and property sectors were still in trouble, while big corporates remained resilient. “We, however, have to monitor all groups of borrowers as the economy remains weak and Covid-19 is lingering,” he added.