By SUCHAT SRITAMA
Surachai Danaitangtrakul, chairman of the board, yesterday said the bank had initiated the new effort to help lower-income people – especially those in the Armed Forces, the self-employed and individuals working at public companies – build or buy a house.
GH Bank’s measure will apply to low-income-persons earning up to Bt10,000 per month.
“It is a new plan aimed at helping low-income government officials to build a home on government land – like a half-welfare programme. Meanwhile, the self-employed and other individuals can also borrow money to build and buy a house. We should kick off the project within the next three months," he said.
The bank will begin discussions with the Armed Forces by the end of this month, followed by talks with other targeted organisations, including Subdistrict Administrative Organisations (Or Bor Tor) and public companies.
One of the best potential groups under the project is the Navy, which owns land but lacks the financial wherewithal to develop it, Surachai said.
The GH Bank is earmarking Bt5 billion for the new low-income housing scheme, having earlier reserved loans of Bt10 billion for ageing-society investment.
The bank’s efforts are in response to the government’s 10-year plan (2016-2025) that aims to provide housing for 2.7 million low-income households, out of a total of 4.6 million without a home.
It has already approved loans worth Bt21.1billion to 15,239 borrowers since October last year.
This year, the bank has set aside Bt30 billion for the government’s “Baan Pracha Rath” campaign for low-income earners, Bt20 billion for pre-finance and Bt10 billion for post-finance.
Some 26,171 customers have expressed interested in taking out a loan, and 1,903 of them have been approved to date.
Last week, the bank announced its first-quarter results, posting a net profit of Bt2.5 billion.
New lending during the first three months came in at Bt37.7 billion, up 19.2 per cent from the same period last year.
GH Bank, meanwhile, will soon launch a debit card to support its e-payment system as part of moves to improve Internet banking, the chairman said.
Debit cardholders will be able to enjoy discounts and other privileges when purchasing products and services from the bank’s alliance partners.
Furthermore, GH Bank will establish a financial clinic to provide financial consultancy and home-buying advice to first-time borrowers, he added.
The clinic will educate low-income individuals on the need to start saving, which will make it easier for them to buy a home later.
While its lending to low-income people in general could put pressure on its non-performing loans, the bank is confident it can maintain its NPL rate at no more 5.4 per cent, he stressed.