The Edge Singapore: CIMB Singapore comes of age, crucial link in parent group’s Asean ambitions

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The Singapore unit of Bursa Malaysialisted CIMB Group Holdings owes much of its retail banking presence in the city-state to its parent group’s acquisition of Southern Bank in 2006, a year after it acquired GK Goh.

Following the deal, CIMB Singapore gained Southern Bank’s two branches in Singapore, which remain to this day the only branches it has in the local market.

Now, as CIMB Singapore marks its fifth anniversary, it might be about to signifi cantly expand its branch network, thanks to another corporate deal by its parent.

On Oct 9, CIMB Group Holdings, RHB Capital and Malaysia Building Society Bhd said they had sought Bank Negara Malaysia’s approval for a proposed three-way merger.

That could pave the way for CIMB Singapore to take over the branch network of RHB in Singa pore, subject to the approval of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

“[RHB] has seven branches,” says Mak Lye Mun, CEO of CIMB Singapore.

“This is historical, like Southern Bank. We have to apply and seek permission from MAS. If it gives us permission, we will have nine branches.”

As it is, CIMB Singapore has come a long way despite its limited branch network.

In the last five years, its revenues have grown by a compound annual growth rate of 43%, while its profits before tax have expanded by a CAGR of 32%.

In 2009, CIMB Singapore had a staff headcount of just 129.

Today, it has some 1,200 employees. In 2009, the bank had less than $1 billion each in deposits and loans.

As at Sept 30, it had deposits of $10.6 billion, and a loan book worth $10 billion.

For 1HFY2014, CIMB Singapore reported a 58.2% rise in pre-tax profit to $60.9 million.

“In 2009, we were probably a rounding error to the group’s profits,” Mak says.

“In 1HFY2014, we contributed 6% [to its profits before tax].”

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