Thailand's best domestic bank 2019: Siam Commercial Bank
Siam Commercial Bank
The Thai banking sector had another difficult year in 2018 thanks to a relatively slow economy, the high costs of digital rollouts and muted activity in the local capital markets.
Choosing a domestic winner was not easy: perennial favourites Kasikornbank and Siam Commercial Bank continued to make solid gains, and even laggard Bangkok Bank flexed its muscles and improved its financial performance. But SCB, led by chief executive Arthid Nanthawithaya, wins because of its relative outperformance and its timely ability to adapt to changing market conditions.
SCB is Thailand’s oldest local bank and one of the nimblest. The Bangkok lender reported a net profit of Bt40.1 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2018, the highest in the industry. Its return on equity was an impressive 10.8%, beating both Kasikornbank (10.6%) and Bangkok Bank (8.7%): SCB also beat its rivals in terms of return on assets.
Then there is the bank’s ambitious digital transformation. It aims to slash the number of branches from the current network of 1,019, raise productivity and position the bank for the new digital era.
Analysts certainly like what they see.
“We believe SCB is well positioned to benefit from branch rationalization,” says one Bangkok director of research. “Revenue could accelerate as the bank tries to monetize investments it has made in the past two years.”
SCB’s proven investment banking capabilities also played a part in winning this award. The bank has a team of 70 bankers providing investment solutions for its clients.