Remittances — spreading wealth around

  • SME
  • Tuesday, 17 Sep 2013

The business of remittance services is a big market in Malaysia due to the growing number of foreign workers here.

According to the Finance Ministry’s Economic Report 2010/2011, there were 1.8 million registered foreign workers in Malaysia two years ago. The number, no doubt, will have increased by now. Indonesians make up the bulk of the foreign workers, followed by Bangladeshis.

It is no small wonder then that City Bank Ltd of Bangladesh has been trying its level best over the past few years to penetrate the local remittance market.

CBL is City Bank’s first remittance operations outside of Bangladesh.

City Bank Ltd was established in 1983 and is one of the oldest private banks in Bangladesh. It is also the sole American Express franchisee in Bangladesh.

At the recent launch of CBL, Dr Atiur Rahman, the governor of Bangladesh Bank noted that Malaysia is now the third-largest remittance market for Bangladesh with annual transactions between Malaysia and Bangladesh coming close to US$1bil (RM3.28bil) a year.

“There are currently some 500,000 to 800,000 Bangladeshis working in Malaysia and this number is increasing progressively.

“Between the two governments, talks are going on to bring in some 1.4 million new workers soon,” he said.

“Malaysia has been a good market for inbound remittance and it has grown multi-fold. We can only imagine a rise in remittances from here,” he added.

The strong remittance inflow to Bangladesh has helped the country grow its economy and CBL’s new chairman and former chairman of City Bank, Aziz Al Kaiser, said City Bank is looking into providing financial advisory services for Bangladeshis to multiply the hard-earned money sent by their loved ones in Malaysia.

Note that these strong remittance numbers are only specific to Bangladesh. There are plenty of other foreign workers that are remitting money out of Malaysia.

On a good week, Gurcharan said CBL services about 600 to 700 foreign workers a week and takes in about RM700,000 in collections a weekend.

Related story:
Taking off with remittances

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