In an achievement that highlights its excellence in serving SMEs in Malaysia, Hong Leong Bank has been awarded the title of “Best SME Bank”by The Asian Banker for the fifth year in a row, underscoring the bank’s consistent investment into the success, growth, and wellbeing of the SME community.
The prestigious award, presented at The Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services and Technology Innovation Malaysia Awards 2023, is renowned for its rigorous evaluation process and is awarded to financial institutions for their vision, execution, and market-leading financial service propositions. This recognition also comes on the heels of HLB being named the “Best SME Bank in Malaysia“for the second consecutive year by Asian Banking & Finance last month.
Kevin Lam, group managing director and CEO of HLB, commented that this achievement was a testament to the bank’s relentless dedication to supporting SMEs through tailor-made financial solutions and community-focused strategies.
“Being named the Best SME Bank five years in a row shows that we are committed to supporting and empowering our SME customers to expand their businesses through digitalization, innovation, and sustainable practices. As a financial institution that is ‘Built Around You’, our main priority is to provide financial tools and solutions that cater to the SMEs’ specific and diversified needs, equipping them with the resources needed to better serve their markets.
“Looking ahead, empowering the SME sector will continue to be a key priority for HLB, as we step up our efforts to support SMEs through digital transformation and implementing ESG considerations into their operations.
“We are committed to being a value-adding partner in the SME ecosystem that looks to future-proof our SME customers, shaping a stronger economic landscape for Malaysia that all stakeholders can benefit from.”
HLB’s journey in the SME sector is marked by significant growth and a clear emphasis on sustainability. Over the past five years, the Bank has seen its SME loans grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22%, while deposits expanded at a CAGR of 11%. Its SME customer base has more than doubled, going from 120,000 in 2018 to over 250,000 today, signifying the Bank’s consistent commitment to supporting SMEs.
Kevin Ng, Head of SME Banking at HLB,added that the bank’s continuous support for SMEs is not only demonstrated through its innovative and personalised financial solutions, but also extends to its strategic partnerships and collaborations with key industry leaders.
“Aligned with our dedication to equipping and future-proofing the SME community with vital resources and skills, we have forged strategic partnerships with SME-focused organizations such as the SME Association of Malaysia and the Small and Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA).
“Through these partnerships and networks, HLB has organized and supported various SME-focused events in an effort to add value to the SMEs in our community. We have participated in various nationwide roadshows, making loans, capital financing, and digital banking tools more accessible to SMEs on the ground.
“We have also conducted sustainability roundtables for SMEs, empowering businesses to integrate ESG considerations and green practices into all areas of operation.
“Besides that, our partnership with the Malaysia Motorcycle & Scooter Dealers Association (MMSDA) has led to the development of the Motorcycle Dealers Programme “MDP), a financial scheme that aims to bolster the domestic motorcycle and scooter market by offering up to RM5 million in clean working capital financing for associations under the MMSDA umbrella.
“Since its inception, the MDP has engaged with 277 dealers and approved total loans reaching RM614 million as of August 2023, helping support key players in the motorcycle and scooter industry through the pandemic and beyond.”
Looking ahead, HLB aims to enhance its SME customer experience across all touchpoints for both borrowing and non-borrowing products and services, with plans put in place to double its SME loans and deposits portfolio, as well as its customer base, by 2028.
On its commitment to being ESG-compliant and “Here For The Long Term”, HLB has also set its sights on doubling its ESG-related financing loans to SMEs within the next three to five years, with close to RM1.3 billion in renewable energy financing already approved for SME customers as of August 2023.
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