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Extracted from The Nation: The Nation


Lender says new risk factors have to be taken into account


TMB Bank will revise its projection for the country's economic growth and its loan-growth target for this year, mainly due to new domestic risk factors.


The bank had been forecasting growth in gross domestic product at 4 per cent and in its loans at 9-10 per cent. These projections took into account the Bank of Thailand's 30-per-cent capital withholding measure and the upcoming International Accounting Standard 39.


However, the New Year's Eve bombings in Bangkok have emerged as a new risk factor that needs to be factored in.


"GDP growth will be adjusted to about 3-3.5 per cent, which will also lower the bank's loan growth target to about 6-7 per cent. The final figures will be ready by the end of this month," chief operating officer Kraithip Krairiksh said yesterday.


As the political and economic risk factors will significantly impact credit extensions to large corporations, the bank will focus on small and medium-sized enterprises to build up its loan portfolio, he said.


TMB has included the terrorist factor, but not the explosions in Bangkok, in its business plans for last year and this. In 2006, the bank set up a business continuity management unit to monitor the country's security situation and draw up contingency plans in case of unexpected events.


The bank has beefed up its security budget for this year, in particular for terrorist insurance for all its 457 branches nationwide. Its current insurance policy covers only the bank's head office, Silom branch and some southern outlets.


More closed-circuit televisions will be installed this year.


Recently, Jada Wattanasiritham, CEO of Siam Commercial Bank, said the country's third-largest bank had no plans to adjust its 2007 business target of 10-per-cent loan growth to Bt170 billion.


She said consumer confidence had picked up after the bomb blasts. The bank's large retail customers have seen their business recover to 70-80 per cent, so the bank will wait and see how the situation develops before making a decision on revising its business plan.


Siam Commercial Bank also plans to equip all of its 700 branches across the country with closed-circuit TVs.


Somruedi Banchongduang


The Nation

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