By The Nation
SME Bank also injected Bt490 million into the First SME Private Equity Trust Fund.
Chairwoman Salinee Wantal said the bank was able to manage its cost of funds and control expenses, which contributed to the net profit. It also extended more "good loans".
The bank’s need to allocate bad debt reserves and its risk also subsided significantly following the Civil Court’s decision to dismiss the FRCD case between the bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
If the case ends well, SME Bank will shift Bt2 billion of those reserves to support future lending.
Funds for loans as of end-October stood at Bt84.61 billion, while loan accounts numbered 69,236. The number of borrowers rose over December 2014 by 1,561 accounts.
All new loan accounts have a credit line of less than Bt15 million.
The bank was able to extend Bt25.85 billion in new loans yesterday. Approved loans pending drawdown amounted to Bt4.52 million. Thus, the bank has approved loans totalling Bt30.37 billion, or 12,763 loan accounts. The average loan per account is Bt2.38 million.
The bank extended Bt6.73 billion in low interest "soft" loans to 2,129 applicants yesterday, for an average of Bt3.16 million per applicant.
However, drawdowns were only Bt2.20 billion by 772 accounts. This is because SME Bank is restructuring its loan collateral operations.
The bank’s non-performing loans (NPLs) as of end-October stood at Bt26.31 billion, or 31.1 per cent of its loan portfolio. In October, NPLs rose slightly by Bt189 million from the previous month after a large mill could not repay its debt, and debt-restructuring was out of the question due to insufficient sales.
The rise in NPLs will not erode SME Bank’s profit, as the bank has excess reserves of up to Bt1.5 billion, which are adequate to cover any increase in NPLs. It has closely monitored small provincial loan accounts to ensure the downgrading is kept to a minimum.
As for the joint-venture project, the SME Steering Committee chaired by the Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary approved a revision of the terms that limit, or hinder, the approval of joint-venture projects.
Thai S Capital Co has also chipped in Bt10 million into the First SME Private Equity Trust Fund, bringing total funds to Bt500 million, she added.