Thailand: Low Interest, High Principles

Southeast Asia's local bankers have customarily operated on two principles: keep interest rates up and keep controversies with the government down. The maverick Bangkok Bank has reversed both principles, yet has become the largest commercial bank in Thailand. It has increased its assets tenfold in the past ten years (to $180 million), and since 1960 has doubled its number of branches. Besides its 42 domestic locations, the bank also has nine foreign outposts, from Saigon to London. Last week, while designing a 16-story home office that will be Bangkok's tallest building, the bank was also planning to expand still...

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