BANGKOK -- Three months ago, Noriaki Goto, former executive officer of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU)'s U.S. holdings division, assumed the post of CEO of Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), also known as Krungsri. In an interview with The Nikkei, he expressed confidence in strengthening BAY's operations by utilizing BTMU's network.
Q: How will you leverage BTMU's Japanese corporate network?
A: BTMU is strong with Japanese companies but it has little coverage of salary accounts of the local workers at these companies. BTMU's Bangkok branch has a grip on what I call the first layer, which is the Japanese companies, and a certain amount of control of the second layer, which is the suppliers of these companies. The third layer is the Thai customers and this is where I want to focus. We have to catch up on salary accounts.
Q: BAY has more loans than deposits. Is demand for funds strong in Thailand?
A: Yes. It's just like Japan in the 1970s to the 1980s. The economy itself is still developing and is not mature like a developed country. But what's different from those days in Japan is the fierce lending race. Potential customers are provided with various options to raise funds, including corporate bonds, and don't have to rely on bank loans.
Q: How about overseas operations?
A: The economies of neighboring countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos are booming. Many Thai companies are eyeing business chances, and Thai banks are willing to go out with them. We have two branches in Laos and a representative office in Myanmar. In Cambodia, we are mulling various options. BTMU is trying to reach out to all these countries as well, so we will work out together on which bank will do what. BTMU has a 20% stake in a Vietnamese bank, so we will leave the Vietnam market to our parent company.
BTMU is already a global bank and this gives BAY an advantage. In Hong Kong, for example, Krungsri's branch has fewer than 20 employees, while Bangkok Bank has more than 100. But BTMU has 900, and they can work with us in covering Thai companies operating there.
Q: How would you cooperate with the Rataranak family remaining as a significant minority shareholder of the bank?
A: The chairman was selected by the family and he serves as a family representative. When we make big decisions I will consult the family. I have not yet met the owner, Krit Rataranak. Having ties with one of the nation's powerful families may lead to particular business connections, like those with other family business groups such as Charoen Pokphand (Group) and Central Group.