New products help Government Savings Bank Thailand widen scope
03/04/06 Wichit chantanusornsiri
The Government Savings Bank expects to lend at least five billion baht under its new personal loan products this year, according to director-general Goanpot Asvinvichit. The new retail focus is a sharp change for the 90-year-old state-owned bank, which has historically been very conservative in the products offered to the public. Retail operations have mostly concentrated on deposit products, with the bulk of its loan portfolio made in project loans to other state agencies. But in recent years the CSB has taken a more consumer-centric approach, with the recent launch of payment cards and steady expansion of the People’s bank microfinance programme. The new GSB Plus personal loan, to be launched today, will offer personal loans to mortgage customers of the GSB as well as other commercial banks. Customers must have outstanding mortgages of 500,000 baht or more, a clean credit record for two years and monthly revenues of at least 15,000 baht. The GSB plus loan offers credit lines of up to five times a borrower’s monthly salary with a cap of 200,000 baht per person, repayment terms of up to three years and an interest charge of one percentage point over prime lending rates, or 8.25% based on current rates. This compares favorably with personal credit products offered by other banks, which can carry interest rates two to three times higher than the GSB Plus programme. For GSB mortgage customers, the GSB Plus programme offers loans equal to the paid-down amount on the mortgage itself, with a maximum of five million baht. Repayment terms are more flexible at up to five to seven years, while interest rates are quoted at MLR-0.5%, or 6.75% per year based on current rates. The bank plans to offer the new loan product starting from today until the end of the year. “GSB Plus is a key part of our plans to revamp our lending strategies to match up with the bank’s new image as a full-service, modern financial institution,” Mr Goanpost said.