AmBank to increase dependence on fintech

In line with our target to be the top 4 banks locally, we are reviewing our investment, says AmBank group CEO

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

AMMB Holdings Bhd (AmBank) will utilise its financial technology (fintech) investments to improve delivery of service and increase the reliance on the digital platform to drive its business.

AmBank group CEO Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir said the sixth-largest lender by assets has invested some RM500 million in fintech in the past three years to revamp its core banking system and operational structure to optimise its current investment.

“In line with our target to be the top four banks in Malaysia, we are reviewing our investment. Bankers have realised that banking is necessary, but banks are not,” he said at the “Win A Porsche” contest campaign launch in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that the fintech investment is set to make a huge impact on how the group does business, especially in the area of business delivery.

The group will require modest investment going forward in fintech, he said, and the revamp of its core banking system has had positive impact on its 175 branches across the country.

The lender has set out to lower its headcount by offering a mutual-separation scheme (MSS) last month to remove “excess capacity” within the group.

“After several processing analysis, we identified there was excess capacity in the workforce. The response to the MSS has achieved our internal target,” he said without stating the number of employees who took up the MSS.

Reports suggest that the group, jointly controlled by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd and founder Tan Sri Azman Hashim, are seeking to trim its workforce by at least 11%, or about 1,200 employees.

The bank provides an in-house programme to its former employees on business opportunities and low-risk investment options.

Sulaiman said the financial group remains open to merger and acquisition (M&A) opportunities.

“However, this will not restrict our business expansion, but we are open to receive merger proposals. At this moment, we are considering the total market perspective and our shareholders’ interest,” Sulaiman said, adding that there is nothing on the table at present.

AmBank and RHB Bank Bhd has proposed a merged exercise last year, which could have created a banking group with RM368 billion worth in assets.

Both banks scrapped their proposed merger after failing to come to mutually acceptable terms and conditions.