By LYDIA NATHAN
Pos Malaysia Bhd has the widest reach in the nation as the sole postal service, along with 40% of the courier market in a pool of 30 competitors.
With a history dating back to the early 1800s, the postal service provider has recently taken to offering services that banks offer to remain relevant in a changing landscape.
Currently, Pos Malaysia is servicing communities together with Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and RHB Bank Bhd, and is open to potential collaborations with other financial institutions.
Pos Malaysia head of retail commercial, Abdul Razak Kadir, told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) recently that the strategic partnerships between both banks had reached a milestone with their shared banking services starting in 2010.
Maybank’s partnership with Pos Malaysia was launched at Pos Malaysia Benut, Pontian, Johor, on Jan 14, 2011, where selected services were provided at approximately 400 outlets.
Abdul Razak said the partnership also ventured into East Malaysia to reach a larger group of people, especially the underserved segment in the rural areas with 51 locations in both Sabah and Sarawak to date.
“In the beginning under the first phase of its launch, RHB had 21 selected outlets in the Klang Valley and Negri Sembilan.Today, there are close to
300 outlets,” he said.
He said the “Easy by RHB kiosk” at selected Pos Malaysia outlets can be used for everyday banking needs, taking approximately eight minutes, to process any operation.
“This is very beneficial for people who need cash urgently and the transaction only requires the customers’ MyKad to proceed,” he added.
Abdul Razak said the banks have been very supportive and have worked well together.
“The banks educate and provide continuous training and other necessary support to us and Pos Malaysia is committed to provide the best banking experiences to our customers while enjoying other products offering that are available at a one-stop centre,” he said.
He added that marketing from all parties have increased the traffic for the shared banking services.
Abdul Razak said the services depend on certain criteria such as Agent Banking
Guidelines by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), requirements by the banks themselves and also Pos Malaysia.
The agent banking concept was transforming Malaysia’s banking landscape with significant outreach of formal financial services to 99% of 30 million Malaysians.
BNM governor Datuk Seri Muhammad Ibrahim said in a report that by leveraging on agent banks, financial institutions have saved more than 80% of their costs as opposed to spending as high as RM1.5 million in setting up a basic bank branch.
“Agent banking has rapidly expanded the provision of financial services at a fraction of the cost. Some (rural folks) previously had to travel up to 14km or three hours and spend RM100 in travelling cost to visit the nearest bank branch,” he said.
On whether banks will be closing their branches, Abdul Razak said that the two parties will instead attempt to enhance their services together with seamless banking experience.
“Nowadays, banks are optimising their branches and this could benefit everyone especially in rural areas,” he said.
Both Maybank and RHB could not be reached for a comment.
A TMR survey on the percentage of people who utilise these services showed that people did not use the services as they were not aware that the services were on offer.
Despite being efficient and convenient, Abdul Razak acknowledged that the percentage of users was relatively low but said that Pos Malaysia is currently working on enhancing products by means of more advertising and making more products available.
Pos Malaysia recorded a revenue of RM2.1 billion in May this year, compared to RM1.7 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year, an increase of 23%.
Profit before tax increased 42% from RM92.5 million in the previous corresponding period to RM131.4 million.
Pos Malaysia aims to be an integrated service provider, stationing itself in the e-commerce sector.
Inking a strategic collaboration with Tigers Global Logistics (M) Sdn Bhd in May, Pos Malaysia announced it signed a memorandum of collaboration with Lazada Malaysia to develop a RM60 million e commerce regional distribution centre.
“We are pleased that our various strategic initiatives to become an e-commerce fulfillment and logistics centre of choice is gaining momentum and are showing positive results,” said Pos Malaysia group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh.