AmBank set sights onto busi­ness bank­ing ex­pan­sion in Sarawak

The Borneo Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Rachel Lau rachel­lau@the­bor­neo­

KUCHING: De­spite achiev­ing RM5.5 bil­lion of new busi­ness loan ap­pli­ca­tions in the first half of their fi­nan­cial year, AmBank Group Bhd (AmBank) set­ting its sights on ex­pan­sion in Sarawak with new busi­ness cen­tres and its ‘AmBank BizRace’ cam­paign.

Speak­ing to The Bor­neo Post in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view yes­ter­day, AmBank’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for its busi­ness bank­ing seg­ment Christo­pher Yap re­vealed that the group is cur­rently in the process of in­ter­view­ing prospec­tive team mem­bers to join and ex­pand their Sarawakian op­er­a­tions.

“We are fo­cus­ing mostly on the seg­ment of busi­nesses that have passed through their start- up phase and mov­ing to­wards the mid to larger en­ter­prises, and have al­ready set up a new busi­ness cen­tre in Kuching on Jalan Abel which fo­cuses pri­mar­ily on Small Medium En­ter­prises (SMEs).

“How­ever, we feel that this is not enough, so we have plans to open a sec­ond cen­tre in Kuching and two more – one in Miri and one in Sibu. That is our plan for the Sarawak re­gion and we hope to fin­ish the hir­ing process by this fi­nan­cial year which is March 31, 2018 for us.”

The new busi­ness cen­tres are es­ti­mated to be able to reach out to 65 to 70 per cent of all SMEs in Sarawak and when com­pleted, Yap an­tic­i­pates that the num­ber of new busi­ness loan ap­pli­ca­tions from Sarawak will see sig­nif­i­cant growth.

Cur­rently, the new busi­ness loan ap­pli­ca­tions from Sarawak only ac­count for 5 per cent of AmBank’s RM5.5 bil­lion fig­ure.

And while the pri­mary func­tion of th­ese busi­ness cen­tres is to help pro­vide fi­nanc­ing to SMEs, Yap also em­pha­sised that AmBank has felt that this ap­proach was not suf­fi­cient to help ful­fil their goals of help­ing SMEs scale up­wards.

“From what we have gath­ered fro­mourob­ser­va­tion­sand­feed­back from cus­tomers, we re­alised that fi­nanc­ing is only fac­tor of them scal­ing their busi­ness.

“We re­alised that a lot of them were reach a stage of plateau and were strug­gling on how to scale and suc­ceed in their busi­nesses,” ex­plained Yap.

“In con­junc­tion with the up­com­ing new busi­ness cen­tres, AmBank has also launched their AmBank BizRACE cam­paign as part of the bank’s con­tin­u­ous ef­forts in pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional sup­port to lo­cal SMEs.

The AmBank BizRACE cam­paign is a na­tion­wide en­trepreneur­ship chal­lenge where C-suite in­di­vid­u­als or own­ers of lo­cal SMEs who want to grow and scale their busi­nesses may join in by sub­mit­ting their busi­ness plans in or­der to stand a chance to win a va­ri­ety of prizes that are worth over RM2 mil­lion.

The en­tire process of the race and its prizes are all geared to­wards help­ing the par­tic­i­pants and win­ners scale their busi­nesses up­wards through crit­i­cal de­vel­op­ment pro­grammes, coach­ing ses­sions, net­work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and brand­ing help.

Be­sides this, AmBank is also look­ing to cap­ture a wider au­di­ence of SMEs through a se­ries of knowl­edge- shar­ing events lead­ing up to the AmBank BizRace.

Th­ese ses­sions are free and open to all SMEs re­gard­less of whether they are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the race.

In Sarawak es­pe­cially, Yap is hope­ful that more SMEs will con­sider par­tak­ing in the event as he feels that lo­cal SMEs would find the process to be highly ben­e­fi­cial.

“In Sarawak re­gion par­tic­u­larly, we have heard of many big com­pa­nies but we do not hear of many home grown com­pa­nies that ac­tu­ally make it to the whole coun­try, re­gion and es­pe­cially to all parts of the world.

“Un­for­tu­nately, a lot of busi­nesses in Sarawak are still in the tra­di­tional busi­ness model and we have not seen a lot of new or dif­fer­ent busi­nesses.

“I hope that lo­cal busi­nesses will par­tic­i­pate in the BizRACE so we can re­ally zoom in on th­ese com­pa­nies to help them scale.” “It can be any in­dus­tries and busi­nesses, es­pe­cially those in Kuching,” added Yap.

Reg­is­tra­tions for the AmBank BizRACE are now open at www. am­bankbiz­club. comwww. am­bankbiz­club. comwww. am­bankbiz­club. com un­til Novem­ber 12, 2017.

Ongk­ili (sec­ond left) show­ing a copy of the Green Tech­nol­ogy Master Plan book af­ter launch­ing the IGEM 2017 yes­ter­day. — Ber­nama photo

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