Friday, December 17, 2010

Maybank launches Syariah bank in Indonesia, eyes top Islamic bank spot in Asean

KUALA LUMPUR: MALAYAN BANKING BHD [] has set its sights of being the number one Islamic bank in Asean by 2015 in terms of reach by leveraging on its presence in Indonesia, said its president and CEO Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.

The Islamic banking leadership target coincided with the official renaming of Bank Maybank Indocorp (BMI) on Friday, Dec 17 as Maybank Syariah Indonesia (MSI) following its conversion to a full fledged Islamic bank in October this year.

BMI, which had been operating in Indonesia since 1994, had received the central bank of Indonesia's approval on Sept 23 to convert its operations into an Islamic bank.

It had been operating mainly in wholesale banking offering corporate banking, trade finance and treasury services to a wide range of corporate client. In addition the bank offered niche retail banking services through its office in Jakarta.

Maybank chairman Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor and Wahid officiated at the launch of the new bank in Jakarta.

Wahid said that the move to convert BMI into a syariah bank was in line with Maybank group's strategic objectives to expand its Islamic banking operations regionally.

Maybank's Islamic banking subsidiary in Malaysia -- Maybank Islamic Berhad'' ' was not only the largest Islamic bank by assets in the country but also in the Asia Pacific region. It is also ranked 17th in the world.

'Our aspiration is to become the number one Islamic bank in Asean by 2015 in terms of reach and this cannot be achieved without a presence in Indonesia, the largest market in Asean,' he said.

'Given its large Muslim population, Indonesia is a critical market that we must be present in if we are to achieve our aspiration in Islamic banking leadership.'

Given the relatively untapped Islamic banking sector in Indonesia, he said there would be strong demand for such services in the republic not only in the consumer market but also in the corporate and investment banking sector.

Wahid said the Syariah banking industry in Indonesia constitutes merely 3% of the total banking industry, with about 11 institutions holding full fledged Syariah banking licenses.

'We believe we can expedite the growth of the industry by bringing to market our range of Islamic based products and services,' he said.

As for the conversion of BMI into a syariah bank, he said it was also an obvious choice as the Maybank already had a full fledged commercial bank through Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) which had a network of over 300 branches throughout Indonesia, he said.

He said that through the premier retail focus, MSI would introduce products and services for high net-worth individuals such as Islamic credit cards, bancassurance, and investment product as well as open up more Islamic branches.

Meanwhile, the Syariah corporate segment will focus on financing to the growth sectors such as natural resources sectors, infrastructure, automotive and housing, and at the same time serve as referrals for initial public offering, sukuk underwriting and advisory services.

Wahid said MSI would also draw on the expertise of the group's global wholesale banking sector, particularly its investment banking arm, Maybank Investment Bank, to tap the growing opportunities present in the Indonesian capital markets.

'As Malaysia's regional financial services leader, we have the capability to draw on our Group resources and expertise to bring financial solutions that best meet our client needs anywhere, whether in the conventional or Islamic banking segments.

'Indonesia represents a key market for us and it is important for us to be able to offer our clients here access to a complete array of banking services that can meet their needs in the most competitive terms possible ' this is line with our mission to humanise financial services across Asia,' he said.

Apart from Malaysia and now Indonesia, Maybank also offers its Islamic banking services to its global offices in Singapore, Brunei, Bahrain and London.

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