The finance minister on Friday said the ministry was considering a plan to offer tax incentives to encourage mergers among commercial banks to create institutions able to compete with foreign banks, including regional competitors.

“Our policy is not to force but to give incentives to motivate them into thinking… because Thailand does not have a bank that can be called a champion bank that can compete with overseas,” Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said.

“So we will use tax incentives to help as a deciding factor,” he said, without giving details or naming any banks.

Mr Apisak said Thai banks were small compared with Singapore and Malaysian ones, and their size was impeding them from doing business abroad.

The five biggest lenders are Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Siam Commercial Bank, Kasikornbank and Bank of Ayudhya.

In June, the central bank said it would relax foreign exchange rules, including allowing more Thais to directly invest abroad.

The central bank said commercial banks would also be allowed to lend baht to non-residents for investment.

News Reporter

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