Thailand's best domestic bank 2017: Siam Commercial Bank
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Thailand's best domestic bank 2017: Siam Commercial Bank

Siam Commercial Bank

Two lenders stand out above the fray in Thailand: Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) and Kasikornbank. Both are focused, driven, ambitious, and better than their peers at squeezing a little bit extra out of a tough banking market and an underperforming economy.

But Siam Commercial Bank, described by one analyst as the bank “best prepared to benefit from a hoped-for bump in economic growth” in the years ahead, is a worthy winner of this award. Larger than its chief domestic banking rival, in terms of total assets and total market capitalization, it also boasted the highest return on equity of its peers at the end of 2016 – 14.8% – and the highest return on assets – of 1.7%.

SCB reported earnings of Bt47.6 billion ($1.43 billion) in 2016 on the back of a 7.8% year-on-year jump in final-quarter profits. Non-performing loans are also down, falling to 2.67% at the end of 2016 – the lowest ratio in the entire sector – against 2.89% a year ago.

The bank, which had 1,169 domestic branches at the end of March 2017, and offices in eight other countries, including Vietnam, Myanmar and China, has pushed on again this year, reporting net profit of Bt11.9 billion in the first three months of 2017, a year-on-year rise of 13%, again outpacing its peers.

It plans to invest in staff, big data and mobile banking. Last year, the lender doubled the amount of money it set aside for investments in new technology, boosting its IT budget to Bt6.5 billion.