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RHB Bank to expand in Singapore

Malaysia's fourth-largest lender, RHB Bank, wants to triple the profit of its Singapore unit over the next two years.

SINGAPORE: Malaysia's fourth-largest lender, RHB Bank, wants to triple the profit of its Singapore unit over the next two years.

To meet its aggressive target, it is looking to double its staff strength to 1,000 over the same period.

Singapore is the top overseas contributor to RHB's group revenue, accounting for close to 5 per cent.

RHB said it targets to have overseas revenue making up 40 per cent of its group revenue by 2020, up from 12 per cent currently.

RHB Bank has relocated its branch at Bukit Merah to Westgate Mall in Jurong.

The branch - which was officially opened on Thursday - is part of RHB's plan to tap on "the more than 3,000 companies around the International Business Park, and the Jurong and Tuas industrial estates".

Jason Wong, country head of RHB Bank Singapore, said: "Now we are building up the business banking - which is the SME segment - to at least contributing 20 per cent of the revenue. That is why we are hiring a lot of RMs, putting them at the branches close to businesses.

“With this and the platform that we have built, we are confident that it will (be) a much more significant contributor in the next three years."

Currently, RHB Bank Singapore derives the bulk of its business from corporate banking and treasury sales.

Its SME banking, retail banking and investment banking make up a third of its business.

And it sees room to expand.

It intends to introduce wealth management services by the middle of this year.

On the investment banking side, it hopes to leverage its merger with OSK-DMG & Partners Securities.

U Chen Hock, director of Group International Business at RHB Banking Group, said: "Clients of ours from the commercial bank side who want to raise money from the equity capital markets, (and want) corporate financial services, these can be now provided out of our DMG sister company.

“We can also support our DMG clients - whether trading customers or corporate (customers) - by offering straight loans out of our commercial bank's balance sheet."

Last year, RHB helped two Singapore-listed Indonesian firms - First Resources and Golden Agri-Resources - issue Islamic bonds in Malaysia.

RHB plans to expand its overseas business through organic growth and acquisitions.

And like Singapore's DBS Bank, it has also run into regulatory headwinds in Indonesia.

Its bid for Bank Mestika has been pending for a few years now, and RHB said it hopes to get regulatory approval for the deal this year. 

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