Al Rajhi Bank to further penetrate into ASEAN

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia will continue with plans to further expand operations into the region, targeting neighbouring markets such as Singapore and Indonesia, according to chairman Datuk Seri Dr Nik Norzrul Thani Nik Hassan Thani.

In an interview with StarBiz, Hassan Thani who is exiting the bank at the end of this month, said his successor would continue with the expansion plan. He also revealed that the bank is in the midst of seeking regulatory approvals to realise this regional ambition. The expansion is expected to boost earnings of the Riyadh-headquarted Al Rajhi Bank, which has total assets of US$80 billion and an employee base of over 9,600 associates.

Hassan Thani, who said that his successor name will be announced in due course, cited that Islamic finance has become increasingly mainstream on the global stage. The bank also sees significant business opportunities in several markets in Southeast Asia apart from Malaysia, where Islamic finance “is already mainstream as a result of government-driven initiatives over the years”. He noted Indonesia as ASEAN’s biggest economy, as it has the largest number of Muslim population in the world.

Hassan Thani who has been with Al Rajhi Bank since it established its wholly-owned subsidiary in Malaysia in 2006, has been driving the growth of the bank over the years. He is also a director of several public listed companies, including Fraser and Neave. The bank pride itself as a "progressive" and modern Islamic financial institution, offering niche products that cater to both Muslims and non-Muslims customers.

On the retail side, Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia said it continues to see growth in the demand for current account or savings account services from new and existing customers, on the back of its multi-segment deposit strategy. On corporate front, the bank is working on strengthening its presence targeting owner-led enterprises as well as SMEs.

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia returned to the black with a net profit of RM2.2 million for the second quarter ended 30 June 2017, compared with a loss of RM5.9 million in the previous corresponding quarter. For the first half of 2017, Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia’s net profit stood at RM415,000, compared with a loss of RM4.9 million in the previous corresponding quarter.