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Asian banking: Older and wiser

Meet the new breed of Asian banker - the ones who survived the crisis and are now able to put their hard-learned lessons into practice. They are leading the way into a new era of openness and transparency in Asia.

Take Jada Wattanasiritham, president of Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), whose bank took the painful steps necessary to go through the government's recapitalization programme. It required making a clean breast of how bad the balance sheet was at a time when most banks were not fully owning up to their problems. Eventually SCB was able to execute what many see as the most successful recapitalization in the region. But coming out the other side does not mean the bank resembles the kind of institution it was at the outset.

Management is older and wiser. Regulators are more vigilant, investors sceptical and the Thai economy moving only slowly. Welcome to the new world of Asian banking.

"We are adjusting to the new reality of a more slow-moving economy. We have to climb back much more but we are slowly moving in the right direction," says Wattanasiritham.

SCB survived because it quickly realized that it needed to forego its original plan to announce a straight equity issue and accept the restrictive but less risky programme the government was offering.

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