RETAIL BANKING | Cesar Tordesillas, Thailand

Thailand's Thanachart Bank woos SME clients

A few with good credit ratings.

Focusing on the SME market will reveal this limitation.

This is why Thanachart Bank is gearing up for the tough competition over SMEs with good ratings.

The competition to find good customers next year will be more tense because each bank has to expand loans to existing customers while refinancing customers shifting from rivals.

Thanachart Bank is among several banks closely monitoring how their SME customers are affected by the global economy.

The bank has segmented these customers according to industry and charges high interest to those on its watch list of high-risk businesses.

Jiratchayuth Amyongka, head of SME banking for Thanachart Bank, said the new conditions included shareholder equity, which must be sufficient for when SMEs suffer a drop in revenue.

Krungthai Bank has increased the frequency of its visits to customers in the past three months as it predicted that the euro-zone debt crisis would hurt SME clients in the fourth quarter, said Weidt Nuchjalearn, senior executive vice president.

He said SMEs were less able to tackle such external problems compared with larger companies, so the bank must quickly help its clients by increasing the frequency of visits and looking after the cash flow of customers.

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