Bank of Ayudhya says 2014 loans may grow only 4.5-5.0 pct

BANGKOK Wed May 21, 2014 1:31am EDT

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BANGKOK May 21 (Reuters) - Bank of Ayudhya Pcl, Thailand's fifth largest lender, said on Wednesday its 2014 loans would rise only 4.5-5.0 percent, well below the company's target, if the prolonged political unrest drags down the country's economy to grow just 1.5 percent this year.

The bank, 72 percent owned by Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, however maintained its 2014 loan growth target of 7-9 percent, President Philip Tan told reporters.

The bank aims to keep its non-performing loan (NPL) at 2.5 percent of total lending at the end of this year and plans to set aside more loan-loss provision in the second quarter if the number of bad debt rises, Tan said.

About 50 percent of NPLs came from retail clients, with the rest from small and medium sized business and corporate clients, he said adding bad debts are mostly in the auto, housing, personal loan and credit cards. (Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn; Writing by Khettiya Jittapong; Editing by Anand Basu)

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