Moody's: Bank runs add to credit risk

The spectre of future politically motivated actions targeting banks is credit-negative for Thailand's banking sector, particularly state-owned and policy banks, which are the main vehicles for Thailand’s subsidy programmes, according to Moody's Investors Service.

The withdrawals have little or no effect on GSB’s credit, the ratings agency said.

 "Thai banks have ample liquidity to manage the temporary outflows, and the deposit withdrawals are not motivated by a lack of confidence in the institutions’ soundness, and thus will have no systemic effect," it said in Moody's Credit Outlook released on Monday.

"Our discussions with some commercial banks also confirm that their withdrawals are normal and their liquidity positions remain sound."

Last week, depositors in Thailand withdrew a reported 60 billion baht in net deposits from the Government Savings Bank (GSB) to protest the bank’s support of the country’s politically controversial rice-buying programme through its loans to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives.

The withdrawals from GSB amount to less than 4% of its total deposit base as of the latest available data at year-end 2012. GSB’s loan/deposit ratio was 89% as of year-end 2012.

Other banks that protestors targeted for deposit withdrawals — albeit on a smaller scale – include Krung Thai Bank and BAAC. Given the protests of KTB’s lending to the rice-subsidy scheme, the bank announced that it had not participated in the current round of lending.

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