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Malaysia's best bank for SMEs 2019: Hong Leong Bank

Hong Leong Bank

Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and CEO, Hong Leong Bank.jpg
Domenic Fuda, Hong Leong Bank

Hong Leong Bank’s digital obsession is transforming its relationship with its core franchise, Malaysia’s small and medium-sized business sector. In June 2018, and after a sustained gestation period integrating with external fintech partners, HLB rolled out its souped-up digital offering for business, an all-in-one platform that provides the usual business bookkeeping, alongside payroll, personnel services and deal-specific tax advice.

There’s even a button to launch digital advertising across national digital screens, reaching airports, shopping malls, convenience stores and hotels. All of which is enhanced by HLB’s continued branch makeover.

Chief executive Domenic Fuda says the ambition is to enable the customers to “live life uninterrupted.” Client take-up has been promising; HLB claims its new SME platform generated 25% loan growth in calendar 2018, and 44% more clients. This year the trend is even better, with HLB claiming around 10% quarterly loan growth, which is targeted to translate into 34.1% growth when measured year on year.

The bank has also made strides in peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, collaborating with Fundaztic, one of Malaysia’s leading P2P platforms, to reach creditworthy SMEs that may not ordinarily meet the bank’s conventional loan criteria. HLB says the Fundaztic tie-up ensures that all potential financing avenues are open to Malaysia’s SMEs.