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M'sian banks benefit from relocation of S'pore SMEs

Publication Date : 06-02-2014


The relocation of Singapore-based small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to Johor will create and offer good growth prospects and opportunities for the local banking industry.

RHB Bank Bhd southern regional director Ahmad Zaini Sofian said Johor was the logical choice for the SMEs to move their operations due to the state’s close proximity to the republic.

He said Iskandar Malaysia would benefit the most from the relocation of the SMEs as the country’s first economic growth corridor was progressing and developing well.

“The federal and Johor governments and relevant agencies are also encouraging SMEs from Singapore to move their operations to Iskandar Malaysia,’’ said Ahmad Zaini.

He said this to reporters at the opening of RHB Bank Bhd branch at Pusat Perdagangan Pontian by managing director Khairussaleh Ramli on Wednesday. Ahmad Zaini said the higher cost of doing business in Singapore and space constraints would prompt more SMEs in the republic to relocate their operations elsewhere including to Malaysia.

“The property sector is another key driver that will boost growth in Iskandar Malaysia and create opportunities for the local banking sector,’’ added Ahmad Zaini.

He said Iskandar Malaysia remained attractive to foreign property buyers especially Singaporeans as the prices of private residential properties were much lower than those in the republic.

Meanwhile, director branch management Yeoh Beng Hooi said the bank hoped to maintain 14% in loan growth this year similar to what it had achieved in 2013.

He said last year’s figure was much higher than the 10% for the local banking industry adding it would be a challenging year for banks in the country due to the global economic uncertainties.

“Our main drivers this year will be mortgages, personal loans, current and saving accounts as well as insurance protection,’’ said Yeoh.


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