April 19, 2018 / 12:03 PM / a year ago

Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank profits drop as costs rise

BANGKOK, April 19 (Reuters) - Thailand’s second largest bank, Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB), on Thursday reported a 4.6 percent decline in first-quarter net profit due to rise in costs and investments in digital banking.

Siam Commercial Bank’s profit of 11.4 billion baht ($365.27 million) for the three months ended in March compared to 11.9 billion baht in the same period a year earlier. That missed the average 11.7 billion baht estimate in a Reuters survey of three analysts.

The decline in profits was due to marketing expenses relating to getting more customers to use mobile and digital banking services, it said in a statement.

Last month, the country’s largest banks said they would waive fees for digital transactions, a major source of non-interest income as customers turned to non-banking alternatives for payments and transfers.

SCB’s operating expenses rose 20.6 percent from a year earlier.

The bank was focused on “speed and high security of our digital banking platform,” chief executive, Arthid Nanthawithaya, said in a statement.

Mobile banking will be a source of future business opportunities, Arthid said.

Earlier this year, Siam Commercial Bank said it would reduce headcount and branches and shift its focus to digital banking.

$1 = 31.2100 baht Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng. Editing by Jane Merriman

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