KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 (Bernama) – Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd expects to achieve a loan growth of seven per cent to eight per cent next year, slightly lower than this year's target, amid the challenging business environment.
Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Muazzam Mohamed, said the bank was on track to achieve its loan growth target of about eight per cent this year, predominantly from consumer banking segment.
"Taking cognisant of next year’s challenges, our loan growth is expected to be slightly lower.
“Despite the challenging business environment, our existing established sales infrastructure particularly consumer segment remained strong to support the growth,” he said.
He told reporters this here today after the graduation ceremony of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME) Development Programme, which is fully sponsored by Bank Islam in partnership with the Centre for University-Industry Collaboration (CUIC) of Universiti Utara Malaysia.
He noted that for 2018, despite the lower Gross Domestic Product’s (GDP) growth projection at below five per cent, the consumer segment continued to be the main contributor to economic growth.
“Without the consumer segment, the GDP could have been lower. Bank Islam is 75 per cent predominantly in consumer banking, and fuelled by this segment growth, we are again confident of achieving 7-8 per cent growth next year,” said Muazzam.
On the SME Development Programme, he said it was an investment by the bank to assist entrepreneurs in creating jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to training, education, financing and business support services.
About 33 SME graduates had completed the seven-week face-to-face programme.
Through the programme, selected Bank Islam customers are offered courses that cover topics such as financial management, sales and marketing, operation, Shariah and corporate governance, aimed at equipping customers in SME segment with the necessary skills and knowledge to better manage their businesses.
“As we know, among the challenges faced by financial institutions in giving financing to SMEs is due to insufficient control of operation and financial management. The programme is hoped to elevate their business control, besides helping them to do networking,” he said.
The bank will continue with the programme next year, and expects to increase its enrolment to 100 participants with a sponsorship allocation of about RM300,000.
Muazzam said since the establishment of its SME Banking Division on Jan 1 this year, Bank Islam has taken a step further to assist the SME growth, which in turn would strengthen the real economy and ultimately contribute towards the economic resilience of the country.
To-date, Bank Islam’s total financing to SMEs amounted to about RM2.3 billion including SME customers from Commercial Banking, as well as SME Banking, which is about five per cent of its total financing assets, he said.
The SME segment would continue to be among the growth areas for the bank and despite the challenging environment, the bank had targeted to grow financing for this segment by about RM200 million next year, he added.