DEBT REPAYMENT: BAM offers debtors a haircut

News

Firm says campaign is to relieve burden on those owing less than Bt5 million

Beginning this month and continuing until the end of July, about 2,000 debtors of Bangkok Commercial Asset Management (BAM) are expected to enjoy a campaign to pay only 70 per cent of their debts to settle their accounts.

The campaign is exclusively for BAM debtors owing less than Bt5 million, said BAM president Bunyong Visatemongkolchai.

“We have around 16,372 retail customers, whose total debt is about Bt73.1 billion. If we insist they pay the full debt, those who can’t afford to pay now still won’t be able to pay. With this solution, the debtors will still have a chance to recover from the burden of debt,” said Bunyong.

BAM will consider the debtors’ qualifications and check their ability to repay before deciding who is eligible to participate in the campaign. Apart from the debtors, their parents or children can also pay off the reduced debt.

“Qualified customers can choose to pay either 70 per cent of the estimated price of their debt asset at one time within 45 days of BAM’s ap-proval, or by instalment over five years with no interest,” he said.

“Our retail customers have an average debt of Bt400,000-Bt600,000 each. Most of our retail customers live upcountry and have borrowed to buy land and houses. So, we expect that we can eliminate Bt1.2 billion worth of debt with this project. Three months after the campaign begins, we will review it. If the results are positive, we are likely to extend the project,” said Bunyong.

BAM currently manages more than 200 non-performing loans (NPLs) and non-performing assets (NPAs), none of which is worth more than Bt2 million.

“Last year, BAM launched a promotion for debt defaulters to pay interest at the minimum lending rate minus 3 per cent. The campaign expired in December after receiving a strong welcome from customers. This year, we will offer a fixed rate of 2.5 per cent interest,” said Bunyong.

Meanwhile, Bunyong said BAM expected to obtain Bt500 million this year from assets belonging to Rakesh Saxena, an ex-adviser to the president of the now-defunct Bangkok Bank of Commerce. That adds to last year’s successful gathering of Bt952 million.

“The Bt500 million [worth of Saxena assets] is invested in the stock market in Switzerland. We cannot sell it all at once because it would affect share prices. We asked the Bank of Switzerland to look for a trader to buy all the shares we have. We were told the deal could be done this year,” said Bunyong.

“Also, we seized from him [Saxena] a condominium worth ?8.6 million . . . [Bt432.84 million] in France. It is to be sold in June and we set a minimum price of ?6.6 million. The case will take time as it has to go to court,” said Bunyong.

Published on February 03, 2005

Piyarat Setthasiriphaiboon

The Nation

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