Malaysia's largest lender gearing up for nearby markets

Malaysia's largest lender gearing up for nearby markets
PHOTO: Bloomberg

SINGAPORE - An economic slump in Malaysia has darkened the outlook for the country's largest financial services provider Malayan Banking, better known as Maybank.

Founded in 1960, Southeast Asia's fourth-largest bank is seeking a new revenue sources in neighbouring countries. It intends to continue to expand its business by focusing on promising markets.

With a youthful workforce, the Philippines is expected to achieve healthy economic growth if the government puts in place the right policies, according to Maybank Group President and CEO Datuk Abdul Farid Alias. He presented this view at an investment conference held in Manila on Aug. 25.

Maybank reported a record net profit of 6.71 billion ringgit ($1.59 billion) for the year ended December 2014. But falling resource prices have recently been pushing down Malaysia's exports, while the country's goods and services tax hike in April has cooled consumer sentiment.

Maybank's net profit for the April-June quarter was up only 0.6 per cent from a year earlier, due largely to slow growth in lending at home. Amid local headwinds, the company's overseas operations have become increasingly important. The amount of loans that the company provided in foreign countries accounted for about 42 per cent of the total as of the end of June, up from roughly 39 per cent a year earlier.

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