OCBC Bank (M) Bhd expects the strong growth in its credit-card business of the past few years to continue in 2005, thanks to its various promotional initiatives coupled with Malaysia's robust economy.
The head of credit cards, Fyaro Liew, said that through a series of initiatives, including the highly successful Luxury Car Contest, OCBC managed to almost double its credit-card base to 150,000 last year and hoped to boost number to 250,000 by end-2005.
“The contest gives card-holders the opportunity to win an S-Type Jaguar and other prizes. This year, we will be also launching more exciting promotional campaigns and products,'' she said. “We recently launched the OCBC platinum MasterCard offering several unique and complimentary privileges that are not available with other credit cards in the same category.”
The privileges included free rounds of golf at leading courses in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia as well as free access to and use of facilities at select fitness centres and spas, Liew told StarBiz in Kuala Lumpur.
She also said OCBC would tap its strategic alliance with Great Eastern Life Assurance (M) Bhd (GE) and leverage on GE's 17,000-strong sales and agency force to further grow its card base.
She said the bank had over the past two years steadily built up its credit-card portfolio which it considered a core business, as OCBC believed that credit cards represented a compelling lifestyle component of its personal banking offerings.
Liew said the bank’s strategy was to give customers a choice of cards that came with benefits and features that met their specific needs.
“We offer a complete range of credit-card products. Additionally, the strong relationship we develop with our customers over the long term is another notable feature of what we bring to the market.
“For example, the platinum MasterCard entitles card members to complimentary companion first or business-class tickets when travelling on Gulf Air or a holiday in Bangkok based on exclusive packages from Thai Airways. It also offers individual travel insurance coverage of up to RM2mil for every airline ticket purchased by the card-holder, special rewards with cash-back options, travel and dining privileges, and emergency and concierge services,” she said.
Classic and gold cardholders are also entitled to, among others, annual fee waiver for the first five years and privileges such as the bank’s balance transfer facility with zero interest for the first three months or 0.33% a year for the first six months. Card-holders also enjoy instant discounts and privileges at more than 650 merchant outlets in Malaysia and Singapore.
On the bank’s migration to chip-based card technology, Liew said OCBC had fully complied with the EMV chip-card migration and completed the exercise well ahead of the deadline last year.
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