The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) saw a surge in non-performing loans (NPLs) to almost 7% in its last accounting year as a result of the pandemic and natural disasters, says bank president Tanaratt Ngamvalairatt.
He said for the accounting year 2021/2022 -- ending on March 31 this year -- the bank's NPLs stood at 92 billion baht, accounting for 6.63% of total outstanding loans, compared with 3.7% the previous year.
Mr Tanaratt attributed the surge in NPLs to the pandemic, which hit farmers' income last year, coupled with floods in the middle of last year.
In addition, the bank did not extend loans at a high level in the last accounting year, which resulted in the high ratio of NPLs to total outstanding loans.
Farmers did not have to seek many loans from the bank last year, given the huge amount of state assistance granted to them reaching a total of more than 90 billion baht. One form of support provided to them was an income guarantee scheme worth 45 billion baht.
Mr Tanaratt said he is concerned about the bank's high level of NPLs, although the bank has already provided financial relief to its customers.
He said for the new accounting year beginning April 1, BAAC aims to reduce NPLs to 4.5% of total outstanding loans.
The bank set a new loan target for this latest accounting year of around 35 billion baht, the same level as the 2021/2022 accounting year.
Last year BAAC had outstanding loans of 1.6 trillion baht, up 2.26% year-on-year. It reported net profit of 7.38 billion baht, down from 7.9 billion.