Hanoi (VNA) – The Thai Bankers Association on November 2 said that major Thai commercial banks have pledged to provide financial support to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) amid a fragile economy rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Thai commercial banks will help the SMEs focus on debt restructuring as well as help debtors increase their ability to repay debt, said the association.

Non-performing loans are expected to rise as the economy has not yet returned to growth, said Manop Sangiambut, first executive vice president from the Thai Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), adding that the tourism industry is the most affected by the economic slowdown aggravated by the COVID-19 fallout.

Economic trend remains in negative territory, while the hotel and property sectors are facing oversupply, said Pipatpong Poshyanonda, president of the Thai Kasikornbank, adding that his bank will not focus on lending more but would focus on helping debtors enhance their ability to repay debt.

Chartsiri Sophonpanich, president of Bangkok Bank, said that despite his bank being heavily affected by the COVID-19 fallout, it will still support all groups of borrowers, especially SMEs and the property sector until next year.

Payong Srivanich, president and CEO of the Thai Krungthai Bank, said SMEs remain fragile while bad debts will not change much, adding that his bank will focus on debt restructuring rather than loan growth./.