GSB offers car title loans in order to ensure that interest rates are low

The GSB logo on display at a Money Expo. The state-backed bank introduces auto title loans to put pressure on interest rates. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Government Savings Bank (GSB) plans to enter the auto securities lending market with a focus on retail loans worth up to 200,000 baht per borrower.

The bank’s penetration into the auto securities lending market is aimed at lowering the interest rates charged in this lending segment, President Vitai Ratanakorn said.

The Bank of Thailand has cut interest rates on auto securities lending to 24%, from 28% on Aug. 1, but the rate remains high, Vitai said.

GSB plans to cap interest on car title loans at 18%, plus or minus not more than 2%. The 18% rate will be assessed based on customer profiles, Vitai said.

For example, a car with good terms may receive a 16% interest rate, while older models or vehicles with risky conditions might see 2% interest added to the 18% rate.

The 18% interest rate for auto title loans, classified as unsecured loans, is lower than the interest rates charged by non-bank companies.

But GSB can still make a profit because the bank’s existing unsecured loan products have interest rates below 18%, Vitai said.

Non-bank companies involved in auto securities lending have a net interest margin of 15-20%, higher than the NIM of 2% in public banks and 3% in commercial banks, he said.

GSB is evaluating a potential joint venture partner in the automotive securities lending industry.