BANGKOK Feb 21 Business at Thailand's
Government Savings Bank has returned to normal, the central bank
said on Friday, after big withdrawals this week by customers
unhappy with the bank's lending to a farm bank running a
controversial rice-buying scheme.
The GSB said on Sunday it had lent 5 billion baht ($154
million) to the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural
Cooperatives (BAAC), which manages the government's rice
programme, but has run out of money to pay farmers.
On Tuesday the bank called back the loan and its president
tendered his resignation after an unusually high 30 billion baht
- 1.6 percent of deposits - was withdrawn on Monday. Some 10
billion was taken in deposits the same day.
Some savers were unwilling to see their money used to help
the government while others were worried the loan could somehow
destabilise the bank..
"On Friday morning, deposits and withdrawals at the
Government Savings Bank have returned to normal levels," Bank of
Thailand spokeswoman Roong Mallikamas told reporters.
The GSB and central bank did not give further figures after
Monday but newspaper Krungthep Turakij reported withdrawals
increased to 38 billion baht on Tuesday before slowing to 24
billion on Wednesday and 13.7 billion on Thursday.
Total withdrawals therefore came to 105.7 billion baht but
the papers said about 44.8 billion was deposited from Monday to
Thursday, with some depositors wanting to actively show support
for the bank.
The GSB incident had not affected the overall financial
market as repo and interbank rates had stayed close to the
benchmark policy rate of 2.25 percent this month, Roong said.
(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon;
Editing by Alan Raybould and Clarence Fernandez)