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Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia Set To Become A Formidable Force In The Country

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 (Bernama) -- Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia is set to become a formidable force in the country, its CEO, Ahmed Rehman said in an exclusive interview carried in The Report: Malaysia 2008.

The Report: Malaysia 2008, is the latest edition of the annual business guide by the Oxford Business Group (OBG), a highly acclaimed global publishing, research and consultancy firm.

Ahmed pointed out that the Saudi Arabia-based Al Rajhi Bank, the world’s largest Islamic bank, had 19 branches in Malaysia at the end of last year and was on target for a planned 50 by 2010.

"Overall, our retail engine is now fully firing. If you add the corporate business, we stand to be a formidable force," he said.

According to Ahmed, 2006 for the bank was about building while 2007 was to build and deliver and in 2008 it is all about the delivery.

He said that Al Rajhi Bank Malaysia would follow the Saudi Arabian template where it started with a strong retail legacy and then built up the corporate and investment side of the business.

"We have started transactions on domestic deals and also for Malaysian companies doing business in Saudi Arabia," he added.

"What we hope to do is broaden the capability of a single customer limit, which can restrain the corporate banking business, by leveraging against the capability of our parent, the Al Rajhi Bank for a bigger balance sheet," he said.

He also highlighted the excess liquidity in the Middle East and the Gulf, as well as major transactions such as Saudi Telecom purchasing Maxis and Gulf consortiums investing in the Iskandar Development Region.

"There will be a domino effect. As you start attracting a few investors, more will certainly follow.

"There is indeed a surplus of liquidity in the Gulf looking for investment opportunities, especially in the property market and in Muslim countries," he said.

Malaysia, he added, is an obvious investment choice and this has been enhanced by the country’s economic and political stability, along with the recent focus on Islamic financing.

"We believe that Al Rajhi Bank has also played a role in becoming a natural gateway for this to happen and the wave will definitely continue," he said.

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