Thailand’s first domestic bank a result of Danish-Thai collaboration

The Siam Commercial Bank’s first branch in Talat Noi was established in 1906 under a royal charter of King Rama V. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok

The strong relationship between Denmark and Thailand dates back four centuries and in the Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok’s series of memorable moments and important facts they shine a light on the important collaboration that resulted in Thailand’s first domestic Bank.

This week’s “Did you know” reads:

Did you know that Thailand’s first domestic bank, Siam Commercial Bank, was a result of strong collaboration between Denmark and Thailand?

At the beginning of the 20th century only two banks, both British, were operating in Siam. The visionary King Chulalongkorn had begun the process of modernization, which included the establishment of a domestic bank to grow the Thai financial industry.

The idea of a domestic banking system in Siam had been initiated by the Dane Andreas du Plessis de Richelieu, who presented the project to Prince Mahit, the Minister of Finance at that time.

H.N. Andersen, who established The East Asiatic Company, Isak Glückstadt, the director of the Danish Farmers’ Bank (Landmandsbanken), and Carl Frederik Tietgen, a Danish financier, also contributed greatly to the project. Despite strong resistance from the existing banks, King Chulalongkorn, with the support of strong Thai-Danish interests, created Bank Siam Gummajon in 1907 under a royal charter.

The bank was established with the help of wealthy Thai shareholders and with capital in the form of shares through the Danish Landmandsbanken, the largest bank in Scandinavia at that time.

Thus, the Bank Siam Gummajon became the first domestic bank in Thailand. In 1939, the name was changed to the name we know today: Siam Commercial Bank (SCB).

Richelieu, who initiated the banking project, in Bang Pa-in in 1890. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok
King Chulalongkorn, who had begun the process of modernization, which included the establishment of a domestic bank in Siam. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok
Isak Glückstadt, the director of Landmandsbanken in Denmark, contributed to the banking project. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok.
Carl Frederik Tietgen, a Danish financier, played an important role in the banking project. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok.

 

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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