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Khairussaleh likely to address high SME debt, renewed focus on business banking

By ZAIDI ISHAM ISMAIL

KUALA LUMPUR Jan 28 – New incoming Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) president Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli will have his hands full when he reports to work at the bank on May 1.

 

Maybank sources said at the top of his agenda would likely be the mountainous non-performing loans amassed by the SMEs.

 

"The small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) have amassed billions of non-performing loans or NPLs.

 

This is mainly due to their inability to pay back their loans as the are affected by COVID-19," a source told DagangNews.com.

 

Another area which Khairussaleh might take a look at is the business banking sector which caters to SMEs and other small businesses.

 

This division is currently merged together with the corporate banking division parked under Maybank's international banking division headed by Datuk Muzaffar Hisham.

 

"Muzafar probably has too much on his plate right now and Khairussaleh might want to make the business banking division as a stand-alone unit and not merged with the corporate banking division.

 

Khairussaleh would probably enhance the role of business banking to expedite SMEs.

 

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DagangNews.com broke the story on Jan 14, 2022 on the chosen of Khairussaleh entitled Maybank new president: Khairussaleh potential candidate.

 

The source said the corporate banking division is a different beast together but important as it serves the SMEs which is the backbone of the country's economy.

 

For corporate banking, he would probably crack the whip on his staff to get more business with top corporates in the country.

 

"Khairussaleh would probably have a vision for Maybank just like when he was at RHB," said the source.

 

During his tenure at RHB, he had a vision of his own when he undertook an internal restructuring exercise involving a rights issue to recapitalise the banking group and to transfer the listing status of RHB Capital Bhd to its wholly-owned subsidiary RHB Bank in 2016.

 

Khairussaleh who was former RHB Banking Group managing director takes over from Datuk Seri Abdul Farid Alias whose contract ends on August.

 

Datuk Seri Abdul Farid Alias
                                               Datuk Seri Abdul Farid Alias

 

Meanwhile, other Maybank sources said Khairussaleh's appointment was well received by the bank's staff who received the news via an internal memo.

 

"We are very much excited with Khairussaleh's appointment as he is well received by the rank and file.

 

The staff said Khairussaleh's appointment is actually his return to the bank as he was Maybank's former chief financial officer and PT Bank International director, a unit of Maybank Indonesia.

 

His return to Maybank is akin to the Malay proverb: Sireh pulang ke gagang, or loosely translated "A return to his grassroots".

 

"Even when he was here with us before he left for RHB in 2013, Khairussaleh always connects with the staff and close with the working level as he has a hands on approach in management.

 

"Khairussaleh was strict but at the same time he goes down to the ground to oversee operations," said the staff.

 

Another Maybank staff said Khairussaleh's management is a mirror of his former Maybank mentor Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar.

 

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"Khairussaleh would likely continue with Wahid's vision the and subsequently the Maybank 2025 or M25 vision mooted by Farid.

 

"He would probably continue Maybank's legacy which is to propel Maybank further as a banking group or devise his own vision for the bank.

 

Analysts said Khairussaleh would also strengthen the bank's e-banking segment such as Maybank2u which has already become one of its top brands.

 

As a government-linked banking group, Khairussaleh will also facilitate Maybank's role to distribute loans to fund various government infrastructure projects. – DagangNews.com