Sept. 01--Vientiane: CIMB Thai Bank (CIMBT) has set ambitious lending and deposits growth targets for its newly-opened Vientiane branch at 80-100% per annum over the next three years.
The vibrant growth of the Laotian economy would be the major driver helping the bank to achieve these goals, said chief executive Subhak Suwaraksa during a press trip to Vientiane.
The Manila-based Asian Development Bank forecasts that Laos' GDP will expand robustly at 7.3% this year and 7.5% next year.
Mr Subhak said that the bank targeted its overseas branch's loan outstanding will amount to 300 million baht by the end of this year and the deposits target is set marginally lower than that of lending.
CIMBT, 93.71% owned by Malaysia-based CIMB Group, officially opened its Vientiane branch on Friday.
The branch, with registered capital of US$12.5 million, plans to offer a full-array of financial services under three denominations ? Laos' kip, Thai baht and the US dollar.
Locals, Thais and foreigners who invest in Vientiane are the branch's target groups.
Initially, the Vientiane branch will only offer loans to wholesale and SME businesses.
It plans to extend lending to consumer finance next year, beginning with mortgage and auto loans, while mobilising deposits from local customers in all segments including corporate, SME and retail clients.
The Vientiane outlet plans to launch a wealth management business next year.
Separately, the bank's chief financial officer Narongchai Wongthanavimok said the branch's registered capital is expected to be sufficient for business operations over the next several years depending on its growth rate.
Even though there is stiff competition in the banking business in Vientiane, which has 35 banks, there is still enormous opportunity as foreign investment floods into the front-tier economy.
Energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, trading and retail are the major sectors luring Thai investors.
For the first half of 2013, total loan and deposits outstanding of Laos' banking industry totalled 121.4 billion baht and 128.3 billion, respectively. Both lending and deposits grew at a double-digit percentage over the past few years.
Apart from CIMBT, another five Thai banks ? Bangkok Bank, Krungthai Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Bank of Ayudhya and TMB Bank ? have also jumped on the bandwagon to capitalise on the neighbouring country's strong economic growth.
CIMBT shares closed on the SET on Friday at 2.22 baht, up two satang, on trade with 1.91 million baht.
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