Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hong Leong Islamic Bank to provide full set of services

By Habhajan Singh

Hong Leong Islamic Bank Bhd (HLIB), which is undergoing structural changes and has recently roped in a number of new senior staff, is all set to deliver results in the coming months.
The wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Leong Bank Bhd (HLB), which will turn three years old next month, is in the midst of turning what was a consumer bank into a full service bank.

"By next quarter, we would be able to provide a better range of services as compared to last year. We are in the transformation stage and we're building teams. Those teams will start delivering in the next quarter," HLIB managing director Khalid Mahmood Bhaimia told The Malaysian Reserve.
Asked to explain the key initiative being undertaken at HLIB at the moment, Khalid pointed towards the transformation process. "In Hong Leong Islamic, we've been a consumer bank, or a personal financial services bank, for the last three years of our formation as an Islamic bank. We are now in the process of transforming it into a full service bank.
"Here, it means you also do investment banking, wealth management, corporate banking, and takaful. We're undertaking a transformation towards that — having all those pieces available under one roof," he said.
In the process, he said the bank had brought in many new teams to work in wholesale, investment, product development and Shariah as well as Islamic credit. A number of the new team heads come from RHB Islamic Bank Bhd, where Khalid had earlier served as the chief executive officer before joining HLIB as chief operating officer in May 2007. He was then made managing director the following month.
Among the team heads are Ida Aizun Husin who heads HLIB's wholesale bank, Jasani Abdullah who heads product development and Shariah, Khadijah Iskandar who heads Islamic credit and Saw Ann Ping.
"These are the transformations that I'm talking about. The teams are in place. Some have been aggressive in the past, others are starting to be aggressive," he said.
With its beginnings as the Islamic banking arm of HLB, the division was incorporated as a separate entity on March 28, 2005 and is today a fullfledged Islamic bank with an authorised and paid up capital of RM1 billion and RM500 million, respectively.
HLIB is a dedicated brand offering a comprehensive range of innovative solutions covering areas like Structured Finance, Capital Markets, Corporate & Commercial, Personal Financial Services, Bancatakaful and Wealth Management. For the first half to Dec 31, 2007, HLIB posted a pre-tax profit of RM42 million, up 16% year-on-year and and 24% quarter-on-quarter compared to the same period last year, according to information posted on its website. The balance sheet net financing grew to RM4 billion versus RM3.7 billion as of June 2007.

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