MO­MEN­TUM BOOST

THE merger of AmBank Group with RHB Bank Bhd, if suc­cess­ful, may fast-track the for­mer’s goal of be­com­ing a top four bank in the coun­try by 2020.

New Straits Times - - Business - LIDIANA ROSLI KUALA LUMPUR lidiana@me­di­aprima.com.my

AMMB Hold­ings Bhd’s (AmBank Group) merger talks with RHB Bank Bhd, if suc­cess­ful, will re­sult in changes to AmBank’s blue­print to be among Malaysia’s top four banks by 2020.

AmBank chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Su­laiman Mohd Tahir sug­gested that the merger, if com­pleted, could mean that the bank’s on­go­ing Top 4 strat­egy would have to be tweaked to re­flect new tar­gets.

“If the merger hap­pens, it will fast­track our plan of be­com­ing one of the top four banks in the coun­try,” he said af­ter AmBank’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing, here, yes­ter­day.

“As­sum­ing that the merger doesn’t hap­pen, then we are still on track to hit our Top 4 am­bi­tions by 2020.”

Top 4 refers to the group’s four-year plan, which be­gan last year, to be­come one of Malaysia’s top four banks by fo­cus­ing on 33 ini­tia­tives.

“We have just con­cluded our first year of the blue­print and we have achieved a good mo­men­tum to­wards our goal.

“We have seen trac­tion in many ar­eas, in­clud­ing dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, in­creased de­posits and cross-sell­ing to close to three mil­lion cus­tomers.”

For the 2018 fi­nan­cial year, Su­laiman and his team are tar­get­ing to in­crease the group’s cost-toin­come (CTI) ra­tio to 55 per cent from 57.4 per cent, as well as in­crease its re­turn-on-eq­uity to around 10 per cent from 8.5 per cent in the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year.

“To hit our CTI tar­get of 55 per cent, we are look­ing at sim­pli­fy­ing our process and this in­volves re­de­ploy­ing our peo­ple and stream­lin­ing our pro­cesses. In terms of net in­ter­est in­come, we are well aware that there were fewer ac­tiv­i­ties in the first quar­ter but the pipe­line is look­ing good for the next quar­ter on­wards.”

On the merger, Su­laiman is hope­ful that both par­ties can fi­nalise it by the ex­clu­siv­ity dead­line on Au­gust 30.

“Both par­ties are al­lowed to speak to oth­ers from the end of this month to De­cem­ber.

“That said, if we do man­age to close the deal with RHB dur­ing this ex­clu­sive pe­riod, we will be able to send in the pa­pers to the reg­u­la­tors early next month for the next nec­es­sary steps.”

He said both bank­ing groups would ben­e­fit greatly from the merger.

“It will en­able us to be on a par with Malayan Bank­ing Bhd and CIMB Group.

“What we are bring­ing to the ta­ble is our strength in Malaysia, while RHB is bring­ing its re­gional reach, which we cur­rently don’t have,” he added.

As­sum­ing that the merger doesn’t hap­pen, then we are still on track to hit our Top 4 am­bi­tions by 2020. DATUK SU­LAIMAN MOHD TAHIR AMMB Hold­ings Bhd chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer

PIC BY ASYRAF HAMZAH

AmBank Group chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Datuk Su­laiman Mohd Tahir (cen­tre) with group chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Jamie Ling (left) and group fi­nance vice-pres­i­dent (busi­ness per­for­mance and in­vestor re­la­tions) Ganesh Ku­mar Nadara­jah at AmBank Group’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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