Consumers ‘cautious’, but Ambank still sees retail growth

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 25): AMMB Holdings Bhd (AmBank Group)’s wholly-owned Ambank (M) Bhd still sees year-on-year growth in its mortgages, automobile financing and credit card business despite weaker consumer sentiments.

Admittedly, consumers are “cautious”, said Ambank retail banking acting head Anthony Chin, according to feedbacks obtained from developers and dealers. But he said a number of its banking products are still growing compared to a year ago.

“We do see growth in our products in retail banking, largely on mortgages,” he told reporters after the launch of TRUE banking solutions by Ambank today.

He said the mortgages, automobile financing and credit card business in the past two to three months have picked up year-on-year.

However, he said raising deposits are still a challenge as the market is cautious in terms of savings and liquidity.

Meanwhile, Chin said there is no retrenchment plan for the retail banking business at this juncture despite the challenging business environment.

“At this moment, we don’t have plans for retrenchment. But it doesn’t mean that in future it can’t happen. Things today change very quickly.

“What we need to be careful is how we manage cost, rather than cost-cutting,” he added.

AmBank Group recorded a net profit RM339.51 million in the first quarter ended June 30, 2015 (1QFY16), down 36.77% from RM536.94 million a year ago.

Revenue was at RM2.11 billion, down 18.21% from RM2.58 billion.

At 2.44pm, shares of Ambank Group (Valuation: 2.55; Fundamental: 1.5) were down three sen or 0.66% at RM4.53, for a market capitalisation of RM13.56 billion.

(Note: The Edge Research’s fundamental score reflects a company’s profitability and balance sheet strength, calculated based on historical numbers. The valuation score determines if a stock is attractively valued or not, also based on historical numbers. A score of 3 suggests strong fundamentals and attractive valuations.)