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Thailand’s Banks to Remain Open During State of Emergency

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The Bank of Thailand and other financial institutions said on Wednesday they would keep as many branches open as possible to ensure business can continue during the Covid-19 emergency.

BoT, the Thai Bankers’ Association, the Association of International Banks and the Government Financial Institutions Association said financial institutions under their supervision were ready to guarantee customers access to important services, including deposits, withdrawals, money transfers, payments and loan procedures.

Branches and credit units would be open as often as possible and customers would be spaced at least 1.5 meters apart while waiting for service.

Electronic channels including ATMs, cash deposit machines, internet banking, mobile banking, phone banking and call centres would operate around the clock. They also warned customers to be wary of fraudulent phone calls seeking their personal and financial details.

Bank of Thailand holds key rate steady

Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand kept its policy rate unchanged on Wednesday after last Friday’s unscheduled rate cut of 25 basis points. While trimming its economic growth forecast for 2020 to a 5.3% contraction

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 4-2 to hold the policy rate at a record low of 0.75%, said MPC secretary Titanun Mallikamas.

The rate-setter agreed that fiscal policy should be a main tool to alleviate the impacts from Covid-19 spread, he said.

The central bank late Friday slashed the rate by a quarter percentage point, saying the impact of the coronavirus would be more severe than previously expected and the situation would take time to return to normal, which would adversely affect the Thai economy. The rate cut was the fourth since August, and Friday’s special meeting was the first since 2003.

The central bank also downgraded the country’s economic forecast for this year to a 5.3% contraction from a 2.8% growth previously predicted.

Source: Bangkok Post, Bloomberg

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