BBL to trim interest rates

BBL to trim interest rates

Bangkok Bank (BBL) plans to lower other types of interest rates after it passes on the central bank's entire 25-basis-point rate cut in its minimum lending rate (MLR).

The bank is considering slashing other lending and deposit rates, and the decision will be finalised soon, said Chartsiri Sophonpanich, BBL president.

"We want to give more time for depositors before making a decision on a rate cut, otherwise it would immediately affect them," he said.

BBL, the country's fourth-largest lender by assets, yesterday announced it would trim its MLR by a quarter-point to 6%, effective from Monday.

The bank's move came after Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) and Government Savings Bank (GSB) took the lead in passing on the central bank's rate cut to customers.

SCB trimmed its minimum retail rate (MRR) to 6.87% and fixed deposit rates across the board by 25 basis points, effective yesterday.

From Monday, state-owned GSB's MRR and minimum overdraft rate will be 6.745% and MLR will be 6.375%.

Mr Chartsiri said BBL's MLR rate reduction will help ease the financial burden of business operators and support them in running business smoothly, though the move will curb the bank's interest income.

The rate cut will support customers' debt repayment capability and improve the bank's asset quality, he said.

Separately, Mr Chartsiri said BBL is in the process of arranging its 2020 business plan, including loan growth targets.

Corporate loan demand is revving up in the final quarter of the year, propelled by state investment in big-ticket infrastructure projects, he said, adding that the positive trend is expected to continue into next year.

BBL, in normal practice, manages bad assets by itself rather than disposing of them to asset management corporations.

At the end of September, the bank's non-performing loans (NPLs) were worth 86.2 billion baht, up 7.6% from the end of last year. The NPLs represented 3.6% of loans outstanding.

Kasikornbank (KBank) announced cuts of 25 basis points in its MLR to 6% and 7-25 basis points in deposit rates for juristic customers, effective from Monday. Deposits rates for retail depositors will be left unchanged.

KBank co-president Predee Daochai said the MLR is a reference rate for most of its customers, so cutting it would help them amid murky economic conditions.


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