BANGKOK, Thailand - Sit down to dinner with a banker here and prepare for double-speak about the future of the industry in Southeast Asia. As the appetizer is passed, he will profess broad support for the government's aggressive plan to open the market to new competition.

By the time coffee arrives he is clearly angry at the implication for his bank. "Let's be honest, no one really likes competition. It means much change and lower profits," he grumbles. "We are spending furiously now to try and get a jump on foreign banks."

Limited Time Offer

Save $400 off your subscription. Special offer ends April 30, 2017.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.