Bangkok Bank Maintains Global Expansion and Adjusts Strategy

Bangkok Bank (BBL) is steadily expanding its global banking operations, adjusting its tactics to align with the shifting economic landscapes of different nations.

Despite China’s slow economic development, the world’s second-largest economy retains substantial potential for long-term expansion.

The bank will persist in augmenting its banking sector in China and facilitating its clients’ business expansion, encompassing both inbound and outbound ventures, mentioned president Chartsiri Sophonpanich.

Customers of Bangkok Bank (China) have been exploring business prospects abroad, notably within Asean due to the region’s promising economic growth potential, he articulated.

Moreover, both local and international clients have extended their supply chains throughout the area, and the bank stands prepared to assist these patrons with its powerful regional connections.

BBL, the predominant financial entity in Thailand considering total assets, operates in nine out of the ten Asean member nations. The financial institution ceased its operations at the Pakse branch in Laos in 2022, yet sustains its functionality in Vientiane.

Mr Chartsiri conveyed that the institution plans to modify its global banking business strategy in harmony with the economic circumstances prevalent in each nation.

Despite the termination of the Pakse branch in Laos, the institution intends to perpetuate its business activities in the nation since the market retains a profitability aspect for the bank, he expressed.

The overseas banking venture contributes approximately a quarter of the bank’s cumulative revenue. The involvement of each nation corresponds with its commercial framework and economic state, Mr Chartsiri acknowledged.

The procurement of Indonesia’s PT Bank Permata in 2019 bolstered the bank’s revenue in that business division. Considering the comprehensive array of financial amenities offered by Permata, BBL has persistently expanded its enterprise in Indonesia.

“Following the acquisition of Permata, we have no plans to acquire other banks. The bank focuses mainly on organic growth rather than inorganic growth,” he stated.

Mr Chartsiri indicated that the bank aspires to uphold its aggregate loan growth aim between 4-6% this year, even though it witnessed a growth of merely 0.6% in the initial half of the year.

The sustained economic resurgence in the latter half of 2023 was chiefly due to a resurgence in the tourism industry, which is anticipated to be a significant stimulant for economic expansion this year, he noted.

The bank anticipates the number of international tourist visits to surge to 30 million in 2023.

BBL is not considering increasing the interest rates on either savings or credit loans even after the Bank of Thailand escalated its policy rate by 0.25 percentage points in August.

The stable lending rates are expected to bolster the repayment capacities of retail clientele, comprising small and mid-scale businesses, the bank stated.

A majority of these customers are capable of managing debt repayments even with a hike in interest rates, yet the bank remains committed to aiding the vulnerable groups through debt restructuring.

In this context, the bank has managed to maintain its bad loan ratio at a satisfactory benchmark of 2.9%, Mr Chartsiri informed.