Racheal Lee
Nov 20, 2012

BOT urges banks, financial institutions to tone down ads

BANGKOK - The Bank of Thailand (BOT) is set to urge banks and financial institutions in the market to tone down their advertising, especially where it is related to borrowing.

The BOT has urged banks to tone down advertising
The BOT has urged banks to tone down advertising

BOT, the country's central bank, is set to hold talks with banks and financial institutions next month to discuss advertising approaches in the market.

It was reported that the central bank is concerned over the household debt level in the country.

Like other banks in Southeast Asia, banks in Thailand have often offered consumers rewards for taking out loans.

It is understood that the talks will discuss media advertising spots and how to tone down what the BOT considers to be “over-persuasive” ads.

Clint Easthorpe, chief executive officer of OmnicomMediaGroup Thailand, said that like in other countries, Thailand has a lot of ads for financial services including borrowing, where a wide range of additional incentives are offered.

“Unfortunately some of these ads can be misleading and could take advantage of some consumer lack of understanding in the finance sector,” he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Any move to improve the communication and protect the interests of all involved can only be seen as a good thing. The guidelines need to be clear, with no ambiguity, and consumers need to be reminded to check the small print in ads.”

He expects the BOT will ensure freedom is retained to allow the advertising of financial services, but that it will be governed by guidelines to also ensure ads convey the truth.

An advertising veteran based in Bangkok said the general sentiment is that banking and finance in Thailand “is extremely competitive and getting more”, which is leading to aggressive advertising.

“But it's not as if any one bank or institution is to blame, as most are employing the same tactics as each other,” he said.

“No changes have been made yet, this is only a preliminary meeting to discuss the situation—most people see it as a warning to rein things in a bit, they're not sure anything will actually be implemented," he added. "The bigger issue in Thailand, especially in rural areas, is that loansharking is rife and remains totally unregulated.”

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