Affin Bank set aside 80% of capex for digital push next year

AFFIN Bank Bhd will set aside 80% of its planned RM400 million capital expenditure (capex) next year on digitalisation initiatives to meet the changing expectations of its digital-savvy customers.

President and group CEO Datuk Wan Razly Abdullah said the banking group, which had set aside RM300 million on capex this year, is striving to provide its customers with unrivalled services and improve itself day by day.

“We will be launching our mobile application soon, bringing the best breed in the system in line with our growth plans,” he told the media in a briefing after the bank’s EGM today.

Last October, Affin Bank partnered with global technology services firm Aspire Systems to lead its digital banking transformation journey. 

Through the partnership, Aspire Systems will help Affin Bank to achieve digital maturity quickly and become a truly digital bank with its experience in managing digital banking transformation programmes.

Affin Bank had also then chosen the Temenos Infinity Digital Banking Experience platform to help with its digital transformation.

Wan Razly said the group foresee many headwinds such as inflation costs and the tightening of disposable income following the hikes in Overnight Policy Rates but it also identified pockets of opportunities, namely in retail banking, SMEs and even the corporates to improve its current account savings account (CASA).

“This is why we are embarking on many things such as introducing the new mobile app and a new online platform on our website with value-added services to attract more customers because the better CASA we have, the better margins we make and the stronger we will be,” he said.

The group is now focused on the three pillars of its A25 transformation plan namely unrivalled customer service, digital leadership and responsible banking with impact, which it aims to achieve by 2025.

“We aim to achieve 10% ROE (return on equity), drive revenue growth and double our customer base to two million within three years’ time,” Wan Razly said.

The bank also hoped to achieve a 30% growth in CASA by 2025 from 23% currently which is slightly lower than the target of 25% set earlier.

Wan Razly said Affin Bank would also look for strategies to increase its fee income business, forex business, wealth and insurance business moving forward.

“We are very targeted and selective in how we approach our customers. We will remain agile and adjust ourselves to various headwinds as we are long-term positive on Malaysia and its capabilities of growing the overall business in this country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Affin Bank announced a special dividend amounting to RM400.21 million or 18.09 sen per share, the highest ever paid by the banking group, following the completion of the bank’s disposal of its 63% equity investment in Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd (AHAM).

Wan Razly said the approved special dividend, combined with the interim dividend of RM100.2 million, or around 4.53% per share announced earlier, will see Affin Bank shareholders receiving a total of RM500 million in dividends in December 2022.

“With the successful divestment of AHAM, this special dividend rewards our shareholders for their continued support and enables them to further participate in the bank’s growth.

“Payment of these dividends will be made by the end of Dec 2022 to the shareholders,” he said. 

Affin Bank shareholders unanimously voted to approve the proposed special dividend at the EGM today.

Affin Bank closed at RM2.34 today, a half a sen increase, with 1.65 million shares traded. Its market capitalisation stood at RM5.16 billion. — TMR / pic source: Affin Bank