CIMBT to pursue personal loans next year

CIMB Thai Bank (CIMBT) aims to expand its retail loan portfolio next year by focusing on unsecured loans to improve its net interest margin.

Subhak: Ready to promote retail loans

CEO Subhak Siwaraksa said the bank plans to double outstanding retail unsecured debt, a high-yield financial product, to 7-8 billion baht by the end of 2013 from 3-4 billion at present.

The bank's unsecured lending, mainly personal loans, has declined sharply to 6-7 billion baht as of September this year from 12 billion over the past few years.

"We have put brakes on unsecured loan growth for more than a year, pending IT system development. Now we are ready to promote the debt," Mr Subhak said.

He said the bank also planned to pay more attention to retail secured loan products, leasing and mortgages.

It will pursue growth in automobile and motorcyle leasing next year through its subsidiaries, Center Auto Lease and World Lease, respectively.

Pre-finance or loans extended to property developers would help the bank increase mortgages, he added.

For credit cards, the bank has rescheduled their launch to the third quarter from the first quarter of 2013 due to IT problems.

The bank, 93.15% owned by the Malaysia-based CIMB Group, expected retail loans to make up 45% of total loans next year from 35-40% this year.

As a result, corporate loans will fall to 30-35% in 2013 from 35-40% in 2012, while small and medium-sized enterprise loans will remain at the existing level of 25%, he added.

For deposits, the bank plans to expand current and saving accounts to 35% from 25% of total deposits next year to reduce financial costs and improve net interest margin.

"We aim to increase net interest margin to a range of 3.3% to 3.6% next year from 3.12% now," Mr Subhak said.

Total loan growth is projected at 15-20% in 2012, lower than the 20-30% target due to slowing retail finance and corporate debt payment.

But Mr Subhak is optimistic about 2013, saying the bank has kept the aggressive loan growth target of 20-30% in line with the country's positive economic momentum.

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Writer: Somruedi Banchongduang
Position: Business Reporter