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Malaysia's Maybank to focus on cross-border solutions

Publication Date : 16-10-2012

 

The three branches of Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) in the Greater China region will be turned into a leading cross-border solutions provider between Asean and China by 2015, said its president and chief executive officer Abdul Wahid Omar.

He said Maybank, Malaysia's largest financial services group, had put in place a strong cross-border wholesale banking business platform in the region which had contributed to a significant growth in profits for the bank over the years.

“If you look at our financial report in the first half of the year, as of June 30, our branches in the Greater China Region contributed US$37 million (113 million ringgit), which was 3 per cent of the bank’s total before-tax profit.

“Obviously, we expect them to continue to contribute but at the same time, we also expect others to do well, especially with our expansion in the Philippines. It’s not our intention to make this region our largest profit contributor or surpass Singapore and Indonesia,” he said at a press conference held here yesterday in conjunction with the opening of Maybank’s Beijing branch.

Maybank’s foray into this region began with the opening of its Hong Kong branch in 1962. Thirty-one years later, the bank opened its representative office in Beijing and followed by a branch in Shanghai which was then granted a renminbi banking licence in 2003.

In May, China Banking Regulatory Commission granted Maybank a licence to operate a branch in the Chinese capital, mainly focusing on banking services denominated in US dollars. The Beijing branch has a paid up capital of 200 million yuan ($31.84 million).

Maybank deputy president and global wholesale banking head Abdul Farid Alias said the bank in Malaysia and its Shanghai branch started its cross-border renminbi trade settlement services in June last year.

“We are certainly very excited to facilitate trade transactions in the form of renminbi. We have done a few transactions in Malaysia and Shanghai.

“Last year, trade between Malaysia and China was $90 billion (275 billion ringgit) and this year we are expecting some $100 billion (306 billion ringgit). Compared with the total trade, the amount settled in renminbi is still very small,” he said.

Abdul Farid said through Maybank all companies in China and Malaysia could settle their trade in renminbi instead of a third-party currency and corporate clients at its Shanghai branch could also open a ringgit account for better cross-border trade.

“Together with the People’s Bank of China and Bank Negara [Malaysian central bank], we are going around Malaysia to inform companies that it is allowed by the regulators to settle their trade transactions in renminbi and it is cheaper that way as well.

“We hope that these awareness initiatives will create a lot more demand and eventually the transaction volume (in renminbi) will go up,” he said.

 

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