BBL bullish on 15% mortgage loan rise

BBL bullish on 15% mortgage loan rise

Bangkok Bank (BBL), the country's largest lender by assets, is upbeat about achieving its ambitious mortgage loan growth target of 15% this year after 6% growth in the first half.

The bank's aggressive mortgage loan expansion strategy and the economic rebound could help it achieve the full-year target, said Pochanee Kongkalai, executive vice-president.

The bank delivered 6% housing loan growth to 184 billion baht at the end of June from 173 billion at the end of 2013, while the banking industry recorded flat growth in the sector as the economy faltered. BBL expects its outstanding mortgage loans will reach 200 billion baht by year-end.

The banking industry projects mortgage loan growth of 5-6% this year.    

In a related development, BBL has strengthened its in-house sales team for mortgage loans the past few years to facilitate its housing loan expansion. It plans to increase its sales team from 200 to over 300 this year.

The bank's mortgage loan sales are based at residential sites, largely in Bangkok, to provide direct service and access to home buyers, Ms Ponchanee said.  

Home buyers in the capital mostly use mortgages to buy condominiums as second homes, in line with their changing lifestyle.

"Our strategy differs from others as we don't specify conditions for borrowers. Whether applicants receive the loan largely depends on their debt servicing ability."

Given loan demand for condos is rising and most of these projects are located in Bangkok, the bank's proportion of customers in the capital has risen to 50% from 40% in the past. Condo mortgages comprise 20% of its total housing loans, with single-detached houses still dominating the portfolio at 40%.

Ms Pochanee said expected economic growth in the second half could stoke housing loan demand. The bank has kept its mortgage loan approval criteria unchanged to keep its focus on asset quality rather than a set growth rate, she said, adding BBL's approval rate is expected to remain at 60% of total loan applications.

BBL shares closed on the SET on Friday at 196.50 baht, down 50 satang in trade worth 1.17 billion baht.

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