Monday, November 16, 2009

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia targets RM6b in balance sheet items

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia has target RM6 billion in balance sheets items this year, as compared to RM2 billion in 2007. Its chief executive officer Ahmed Rehman said the bank is aggressive on growth despite the challenges in the global economic environment.
"We will manage our growth carefully. Our key focus this year has been in executing a well thought thorough alternate banking channel strategy that covers ATMs, internet banking and mobile banking," he told reporters after the launch of Al Rajhi Bank's participation in the Malaysian Electronic Payment System or MEPS shared ATM network.
After three years of operations in Malaysia, Al Rajhi has become the first foreign bank to join the MEPS. Ahmed said the global economic crisis, has had some indirect impact on Al Rajhi's business, particulary in relation to markets that are directly exposed to the impact of the global economic meltdown.
He however said it does not affect Al Rajhi's expansion in Malaysia. As for next year, the bank is looking at opening up another four to five branches in Malaysia, subject to approval from the authorities. Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia has at present 19 branches and 17 offsite ATMs and is constantly looking at growing its customer reach.
According to Ahmed, the bank's participation in the MEPS will provide its customers with the convenience of making interbank cash withdrawals and balance inquiries at approximately 9,000 ATMs nationwide.

Meanwhile, the group managing director of MEPS, Mohd Suhail Amar Suresh said it is likely that two more foreign banks would join the MEPS next year.
"Kuwait Finance has in fact, already confirmed its participation while another foreign bank is in discusssions," Mohd Suhail said.
Mohd Suhail said the MEPS has registered more than 11 million ATMs transactions monthly. Mohd Suhail also expects more ATM transactions next year with the imposition of the RM50 annual service tax on credit cards as it will spur spending on cash.
Incorporated in 1997, MEPS is wholly-owned by local financial institutions and is the only interbank payment network service provider in Malaysia. The chairman of the MEPS Board of Directors, Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said from a regional point of view, the facility had also expanded the use of local ATM cards regionally.
This he explained, was done through the establishment of cross border links with counterparts in neighbouring countries namely, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and China.
"This allows Malaysian ATM cardholders travelling to these countries to withdraw cash at the ATM's of participating banks and vice versa at a more competitive transaction fee," he added.
Abdul Wahid said Al-Rajhi will also collaborate with MEPS to form strategic partnerships in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. "We are confident that MEPS and its member banks will soon be able to provide Malaysians travelling to the GCC countries, access to their funds via ATMs," he added. — Bernama

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