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Thailand's best bank for SMEs 2019: Bank of Ayudhya

Bank of Ayudhya

Seiichiro Akita, President and CEO, Krungsri.jpg
Seiichiro Akita, Krungsri

Thailand has roughly three million small and medium-sized enterprises that account for about 40% of GDP and employ a disproportionate share of the workforce. It is no surprise then that local commercial banks fight hard for a share of the SME market.

Bank of Ayudhya, known locally as Krungsri, ranks fifth in terms of assets, but when it comes to SMEs, it packs a fair punch.

Krungsri’s loans to SMEs grew 16.6% in 2018, the highest level of any bank, while its supply chain loans rose 17.5% from a year earlier. Other metrics look good, with non-performing loans for the SME segment falling from 4.2% to 3.8% over the review period, despite the challenging business environment and fierce competition.

The outstanding results reflect the bank’s core strengths, its track record on innovation and efficient asset management. Of course Krungsri, led by chief executive and president Seiichiro Akita, has one very big advantage over peers: its big shareholder is Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), which acquired a 72% stake in the bank back in 2013. This has given Krungsri the edge when it comes to establishing close links to Japanese companies, not only in Thailand but also in the neighbouring countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. MUFG’s global network enables Krungsri to enhance supply-chain services and upgrade the efficiency of trade-finance services.

The Bangkok lender continued to develop its blockchain Interledger technology to support Thai entrepreneurs, reducing international money transfer times to just a few seconds, rather than days.

The new financial technology not only increases efficiency and transparency, but also provides better access to financing for small businesses.

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