BAAC targets 10% growth in loans

The state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) expects its net outstanding loans will grow by 100 billion baht or 10% for the 2014 fiscal year ending next March 31.

Executive vice-president Suraphong Nillaphan said 10% growth in credit was quite steady compared with recent years.

The BAAC's growth target for outstanding loans is based on an assumption that the country's economy will expand 3-4% this year.

The Bank of Thailand recently slashed its forecast for the country's economic growth this year from 2.7% to 1.5% but raised the projection for next year to 5.5% from 4.8% on expectations that the economic rebound will gain pace in the second half after the military's takeover of power ended the months-long political stalemate.

The BAAC's loans in fiscal 2013 rose by 120 billion baht to 996 billion from 876 billion in the previous year.

Even though demand for new loans from rice farmers has hardly changed in recent years, farmers may switch to other crops or even cultivate crops earlier, affecting loan demand in certain periods.

BAAC pesident Luck Wajananawat recently said the bank is set to offer at least 137 billion baht in low-rate loans to rice farmers for planting this year's main crop as part of the junta’s measures to help them cope with low paddy prices.

About 17 billion baht will be lent to rice farmers who have silos in the upper North and Northeast to encourage them to delay selling paddy, which should prevent the market price from falling further, while 20 billion will go to agricultural cooperatives to buy paddy directly from farmers to process and pack milled rice into bags for sale. Another 100 billion will be for working capital.

The BAAC aims to raise 80 billion in deposits this fiscal year through its savings products.

It yesterday officially launched its Taweesin savings certificates worth 30 billion baht, with certificates worth 3.5 billion already sold.

The three-year certificates with a face value of 500 baht will offer a return of 18 baht per unit, which does not take into account prizes from monthly draws. First prize for the draw will be as much as 20 million baht and the combined prize value will be 58 million per draw.

The BAAC contributes one baht for every sold certificate to help its customers whose homes and assets were hit by the recent earthquake in Chiang Rai province. The bank's contribution will be 60 million baht if all the certificates are sold.

It has provided financial assistance to its quake-hit debtors by extending the repayment period for loans by one year and offering loans for residential repairs at a rate below the minimum retail rate (MRR) for the first three years.

The BAAC's MRR now stands at 7% per year.

The bank's outstanding deposits amounted to 1.1 trillion baht at the end of its 2013 fiscal year, up from 99 billion in the previous year.

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