Thailand History

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Thailand had many types of financial institutions, subject to different laws and regulated by different agencies. Most of them were privately owned, but some were state owned. The primary state-owned facility was the Bank of Thailand, which had responsibility and authority for monetary control in its role as the central bank. It served as the fiscal agent and the financier of the government; regulated the money supply, foreign exchange, and the banking system; and also served as the lender of last resort to the banks. Other state-owned facilities included the Government Savings Bank, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand, the Government Housing Bank, and the Small Industry Finance Corporation of Thailand.

By the mid-1980s, the 30 commercial banks had 1,526 branches handling the majority of all financial transactions in Thailand. The 16 largest banks accounted for over 90 percent of assets, deposits, and loans of the commercial banks, indicating a high concentration and little competition in the banking industry. Moreover, despite the impressive growth of banks, entrance by new banks was limited.

Finance and security companies comprised the second largest group of financial institutions with assets equaling nearly 22 percent of those of commercial banks. Concentration also existed in the securities industry, the 5 largest companies (out of 112) holding 19 percent of all finance and security assets. The finance companies were created by many domestic and foreign banks to overcome banking restrictions. Although they were intended to increase competition with commercial banks, the objective was not met because many banks used the companies as an extension of their own activities.

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