Chartsiri Sophonpanich: Modernising Thai banking

Thailand’s banking sector is paving the way for a cashless society without losing the Thai fun-loving spirit of “sanuk”.

Chartsiri Sophonpanich of Bangkok Bank writes for FinanceAsia's 20th anniversary edition on the overhaul Thai banking has faced in the past two decades.

Thailand’s banking landscape has gone through a major transformation during the past two decades. While most people know of the 1997-98 financial crisis which engulfed the region -- known in Thailand as the “Tom Yum Gung” crisis -- the seeds of change were planted even before that.

In the mid-1990s a number of foreign lenders entered the Thai market and provided cheap foreign currency loans to local companies. This was actually one of the root causes of the crisis, because many companies...

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