StarBizWeek caught up with Maybank’s group CEO, community financial services, Datuk John Chong Eng Chuan recently. Below are excerpts of the interview:
How has it been so far at CFS?
I formally took over the position last October but oversaw it since July when Datuk Lim Hong Tat retired.
While the role is different, the values that we have as a bank are still the same, which is basically to ensure that we focus on our customers and clients.
I believe that I inherited a very good team, both here and regionally and I also believe I handed over a very strong investment banking (IB) platform to my colleagues.
You seem very positive against the flow of negativity which is happening especially in the global environment. Where is the optimism stemming from?
It is a matter of finding opportunities, we found it in IB, we are finding it here at CFS.
Yes, for the first time in 18 months we are seeing that everything that can happen and go wrong, has happened and gone wrong.
You have the Brexit, trade tensions, even typhoons but I am a positive guy. And I don’t think we are in a crisis now.
I think to grow 4.4% (Maybank’s projection for Malaysia GDP this year) is decent given this kind of environment and looking at our CFS business so far, we have been growing. Obviously we have to be responsible, when customers take loans from us, we must make sure that they can pay them back.
What is your market share for some of your key segments?
In Malaysia, our market share for mortgage is about 14% while our SME market share is 21.3% and auto market share, 28%, as at June this year.
Our current approval rate for residential mortgages in Malaysia is 80% while industry is about 70%.
Our growth for our affordable housing loans is more than 60%, year-on-year.
We are also the leader in the cards business in Malaysia with over 14 million credit cards, charge cards and debit cards in circulation.
In terms of card billings, we command over 30% market share.
In Singapore, we are one of the leading auto loan financiers with 28% market share.
Technically, 1 in 4 cars in Malaysia and Singapore is financed by Maybank.
Currently, about 1 in every 5 SMEs in Singapore has a banking relationship with Maybank Singapore (both borrowing and non-borrowing).
Our market share for residential properties mortgage there is 5.4%.
Everyone seems to be fighting for more business within the SME space. Is the pie big enough?
Yes, I think there’s still a lot to do in terms of financing for SMEs.
The pie is big enough and there is sufficient demand.
Within Maybank itself, we separate the SME business into two – there’s the retail SME and we’ve got the larger SMEs that we lend up to RM10mil.
Our focus is the retail SMEs because they are the ones that need the most support. We are able to approve SME loans in five days or less.
Over the next three years, we will disburse some RM35bil to SMEs. So far we have done more than RM10bil.
How important is Islamic banking?Islamic banking is very important and cuts across all three of our business pillars, functionality and entity-wise.
In volatile times like these, sukuks and bonds have become very important because our clients are looking for that kind of investments as a form of flight to safety.
Our job is to advise. A client is a Maybank client, not a CFS client or an IB client.
Bonds and sukuk fall under IB, so our wealth management business fits very well with IB.
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