Thailand: GH Bank vows steady interest rates

Government Housing (GH) Bank plans to keep its mortgage interest rates steady until the middle of this year after a rate hike earlier this year, says president Chatchai Sirilai.

The bank’s average interest rate is the minimum retail rate of 4.25% per year following an increase of 0.25 percentage points earlier this year.

This rate hike was its first since the US Federal Reserve started its gradual rate increases in the middle of last year.

Mr Chatchai said Thailand has managed its interest rate policy well, considering the local economic environment and not following the movement of global rates.

He said GH Bank’s rate hike did not have a serious impact on its loan extension, though it did affect those seeking huge loan amounts.

As of March 15, the bank has extended total loans worth 37 billion baht.

The bank’s non-performing loans (NPLs) rose by 4 billion baht in January this year and by another 700 million baht in February.

Its total NPLs tallied 4.11% of total outstanding loans last month.

GH Bank’s total NPLs are expected to rise to 4.25% of its total outstanding loans at the end of this year.

The bank also plans to sell non-performing assets (NPAs) worth 10 billion baht this year, said Mr Chatchai.

GH Bank signed a memorandum of understanding with Sukhumvit Asset Management (SAM) on Thursday, with GH Bank agreeing to offer low-interest loans to customers seeking loans to buy SAM’s NPAs.

Loans for this collaboration total 800 million baht.

The interest rate is the minimum retail rate minus 2.60% during the first three years, with an instalment payment period of 40 years.

The loan application period runs until Dec 20, 2024.

The bank is ready to expand the loan amount if it is warranted, he said.