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Public Bank Group Posted Pre-Tax Profit Of RM3.01 Billion For The First Half Of 2020

For Immediate Release

28 August 2020

Public Bank Group Posted Pre-Tax Profit Of RM3.01 Billion For The First Half Of 2020
 
Highlights on Financial Performance
 
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow, the Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Director and Adviser of Public Bank, announced today, “For the first half year ended 30 June 2020, the Public Bank Group recorded pre-tax profit of RM3.01 billion, 15.3% lower as compared to the corresponding period in 2019. Net profit attributable to shareholders decreased by 15.0% to RM2.33 billion.”
 
The decline in profit was mainly attributed to a one-off net modification loss amounting to RM498 million in the second quarter of 2020, arising from the COVID-19 relief measures offered to individuals and businesses. This reflects the Group’s commitment and contribution in supporting and helping its customers to overcome financial difficulties during this challenging time.
 
Excluding the modification loss, the Group’s pre-tax profit and net profit attributable to shareholders declined by 1.2% in the first half of 2020, as compared to the previous corresponding period in 2019.
 
The Group recorded a net return on equity of 10.7% in the first half of 2020. Excluding the one-off modification loss effect, the Group’s net return on equity would have been 12.4%.
 
In addition to the modification loss incurred in respect of the COVID-19 related relief measures, the Group’s profitability was also affected by the compression in net interest margin due to the reductions in Overnight Policy Rate, and higher provisions set aside for the expected increase in impaired loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the adverse impact on profitability was mitigated by the continued expansion of the Group’s loan and deposit portfolio, and higher non-interest income.
 
Tan Sri Teh added, “In the first half of 2020, the Group registered continued expansion in loans, albeit at a more moderate pace. The Group’s total domestic loans grew at an annualised rate of 2.6%. On deposit-taking, the Group’s total domestic customer deposits posted an annualised growth rate of 3.3%. The Group’s funding position remained stable with a healthy liquidity coverage ratio of 145.7% as at the end of June 2020.”
 
Non-interest income continued to complement the Group’s profitability. In the first half of 2020, the Group’s non-interest income increased by 8.2%, mainly arising from unit trust business, as well as higher investment and brokerage income.
 
In terms of cost efficiency, the Group continued to take the lead in the banking industry. Despite the effect of the modification loss and reductions in Overnight Policy Rate, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio of 37.9% in the first half of 2020 remained significantly better than the domestic banking industry’s cost-to-income ratio of 44.7%.
 
Tan Sri Teh commented, “On asset quality, the Group’s gross impaired loan ratio stood at 0.4% as at end-June 2020, which remained well below the banking industry’s gross impaired loan ratio of 1.5%. The Group’s loan loss coverage ratio remained high at 158.7%. Including the RM1.9 billion regulatory reserves that the Group had set aside, its total reserves for loan losses would be higher at 301.7%.”
 
The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic will pose a risk to the asset quality of the banking sector. However, the Government’s stimulus packages and Bank Negara Malaysia’s financial and monetary relief measures, including the loan moratorium, will help to mitigate the downside risks. In addition, the Group is proactively engaging its customers to provide further assistance required through restructuring and rescheduling of loans. With all these measures in place, coupled with the Group’s resilient credit profile and prudent lending practices, the potential pressure on the Group’s asset quality is expected to be manageable. 
 
Managing the Impact of the Unprecedented Pandemic Crisis
 
During this current time of challenges, the Public Bank Group continued to play a positive role in the economy and the community.
 
Tan Sri Teh said, “This is an unprecedented crisis. During this challenging period, the Group has been taking various measures aimed at providing support to customers, while continuing to preserve the Group’s bottom line.”
 
In the first half of 2020, the Group’s lending activities continued to focus on providing financing for the purchase of residential properties focusing on owner occupied properties, and lending to the small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”). In particular, the Group had been playing a very proactive role in promoting SME funds initiated by the Government and Bank Negara Malaysia.
 
Tan Sri Teh added, “To alleviate cash flow constraint faced by the SMEs, Bank Negara Malaysia had initiated the Special Relief Facility at a low 3.5% per annum financing rate. As at end-June 2020, the Group had approved more than RM1.7 billion financing to about 8,000 SME customers under the facility. Further, the Group is also a participating financing institution of the PENJANA SME Financing Scheme which is offered at a low financing rate of 3.5% per annum.”
 
In line with the reductions in Overnight Policy Rate, the Group had cut its loan and financing interest rates to pass on the benefits of lower rates to the customers. The Group also tapped on the Government’s initiatives in promoting home ownership such as the Home Ownership Campaign to further spur its house financing business.
 
Since the onset of the crisis, concerns about the banking industry’s asset quality have been on the rise due to customers’ cash flow constraint. Tan Sri Teh highlighted, “While the 6-month loan moratorium has helped to mitigate the impact, higher pressure on asset quality is expected after the loan moratorium ends. The Group is committed to continue providing support to assist customers to weather through the challenging period. The Group will continue to undertake proactive engagement with its customers on financial assistance. For customers who face continued financial stress, the Group has offered loan repayment plans and packages that suit the customers’ financial needs.”
 
On deposits, the Group recognises that the low interest rate regime would have affected the elderly customers’ income. In view of this, the Group has on 1 July 2020 rolled out the PB Journey Golden Savers campaign, offering competitive fixed deposit rates to customers aged 50 years and above. 
 
In addition, preserving sound balance sheet remains a key focus area of the Group. Tan Sri Teh commented, “Amid the significant economic disruption and increasing earnings pressure, the Group has placed greater emphasis on prudent cost management to preserve profitability.” 
 
Healthy Capital and Liquidity Position
 
As at the end of June 2020, the Public Bank Group’s capital position was standing strong, with its Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio, Tier 1 Capital Ratio and Total Capital Ratio further strengthened to 14.0%, 14.0% and 17.2% respectively. The Group’s liquidity coverage ratio also stood at a healthy level of 145.7%.
 
Under the current unprecedented and exceptionally challenging environment with high level of uncertainties and significant downside risks weighing on the global economic outlook, the Group regards that careful assessment of dividend plans is crucial. As part of its prudent capital management to conserve capital and further strengthen its capital position, the Board of Directors has decided to reassess its dividend plans at year end upon finalisation of the Group’s full year results. This will ensure the Group to sustain resilient capacity to continue support its stakeholders and the wider economy on future growth path.
 
Tan Sri Teh reiterated, “Its strong capital and liquidity buffer will continue to enable the Group to withstand challenges ahead. The Group will always ensure it remains well-capitalised and well-funded to support its business growth and safeguard the interests of its stakeholders.” 
 
Group’s Prospect
 
The global economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the world GDP expected to slump into negative growth this year. Amid this significant economic disruptions, governments across countries have rolled out various relief measures with the aim to mitigate the adverse impact on the economy. The pace of post pandemic recovery remains uncertain with high level of caution remaining in the economy. 
 
Tan Sri Teh commented, “The current condition poses an exceptional challenge. The Group views positively the significant relief measures implemented by the Government and Bank Negara Malaysia to help the nation to navigate this challenging period. Public Bank is also actively extending its assistance through monetary contribution, loan moratorium, as well as restructuring and rescheduling of loan repayment to lessen the hardship and financial burden of the people affected.”
 
On the Group’s strategy going forward, Tan Sri Teh concluded, “The Group will continue to focus on its organic growth strategy in retail and commercial banking. With the various measures taken to provide financial assistance to SMEs and support home ownership, the Group is of the view that there is still demand for financing. However, as the outlook remains uncertain, the Group will remain cautious and place greater focus on risk management in its pursuit of business growth. In addition, prudent cost management will remain important and the Group will continue to explore ways to further enhance its operational efficiency and productivity.”
 

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Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow
Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Director and Adviser of Public Bank

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Public Bank To Provide Further Loan Repayment Assistance To Targeted Customers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

3 August 2020

Public Bank To Provide Further Loan Repayment Assistance To Targeted Customers
 
Public Bank stands ready to provide loan repayment assistance for its customers who continue to experience difficulties in servicing their loans upon the expiry of the 6-month loan moratorium on 30 September 2020.

Public Bank has developed a loan repayment assistance programme to support its individual customers who have lost their jobs or encounter salary reduction, and SME customers who are experiencing cash flow constraint due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bank’s repayment assistance consists of various repayment packages which suit its customers’ financial conditions.

Public Bank has also developed a digital platform to enable eligible customers to submit online application for rescheduling of their repayment plans. The digital platform will enable a more simplified, efficient and effective application and approval process of repayment plans for customers. Public Bank’s customers are advised to submit online application through the digital platform via Public Bank’s website starting from 7 August 2020.

For individual customers who have lost their jobs in 2020 and are currently unemployed, Public Bank will offer an extension of loan moratorium for 3 months with effect from 1 October 2020. These customers who wish to apply for this moratorium extension may contact the Bank and submit their applications with the required documents.

Public Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tay Ah Lek said today, “The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the economy. Public Bank understands that some customers may continue to face difficulties in cash flow due to the longer than anticipated impact of the pandemic.”

Tan Sri Tay added, “Public Bank is here to help and is fully committed and supportive in helping customers through financial hard times. Our engagements with customers have been ongoing. The Bank’s repayment assistance packages have been carefully structured, taking into consideration the temporary cash flow constraints of our customers. These packages will enable our customers to gradually readjust their financial positions over an extended period of time.”

Customers who intend to apply for the repayment assistance on their loan and financing are advised to approach any Public Bank branches, or visit our website at https://apply.pbebank.com/pbrnr for further information. Alternatively, customers may email to customerservice@publicbank.com.my for advice and assistance.

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​Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tay Ah Lek
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Public Bank
 
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Public Bank And Public Islamic Bank To Reduce Its Base Rate By 0.25%
For Immediate Release
 
8 July 2020

Public Bank And Public Islamic Bank To Reduce Its Base Rate By 0.25%

Public Bank will reduce its Base Rate (BR) and Base Lending Rate (BLR) / Base Financing Rate (BFR) by 0.25% effective 10 July 2020, in line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) cut by 25 basis points (bps) from 2.00% to 1.75% on 7 July 2020.
 
At the same time, Public Bank’s fixed deposit rates will also be correspondingly adjusted by 0.25%, effective on the same date.
 
The 25 bps cut in OPR will further stimulate the country’s economic recovery process.  Public Bank is committed to provide continuous financial assistance to its customers to tide over this unprecedented challenging period.

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Spreading Raya Cheer to Needy Children: Public  Bank Contributed to Two Children’s Homes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
5 June 2020
 
Spreading Raya Cheer to Needy Children: Public Bank Contributed to Two Children’s Homes

Public Bank, which is known as ‘bank for the public’, contributed a total of RM 25,850 in cash and electrical items for two children’s homes to bring happiness and joy to the less fortunate children during the holy month of Ramadan.

Adapting to the new normal of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) implemented by the Government to curb the spread of COVID-19, instead of having visitations by the Bank’s staff to children’s homes which was done previously, a mock cheque presentation to the representatives of the homes was carried out in Menara Public Bank on 3 June 2020.

The two children’s homes are Rumah Kanak-Kanak Tengku Budriah and Pusat Jagaan Nuri and both are based in Kuala Lumpur with a total number of 160 children. The electrical items will be sent to the respective homes separately.

A continuation of the Bank’s corporate social responsibilities activities all year long, this is part of our ongoing commitment as a caring corporate citizen.
 
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Public Bank’s Public Affairs Division (PAD) Senior General Manager Dato’ Razak Dali (centre) with the representatives of the children’s home, Pusat Jagaan Nuri’s Senior Assistant, Puan Isnianti Osman (third from left) and Rumah Kanak-Kanak Tengku Budriah Cheras’s Principal, Encik Mohd Hafizul Bin Abd Ghani (third from right) and representatives from the homes and staff from PAD during the mock cheque and gifts presentation in Menara Public Bank recently.

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Public Bank Group Posted Pre-tax Profit of RM1.73 Billion in the First Quarter of 2020

For Immediate Release

22 May 2020

Public Bank Group Posted Pre-tax Profit of RM1.73 Billion in the First Quarter of 2020
 
The Public Bank Group recorded a pre-tax profit of RM 1.73 billion in the first quarter of 2020, representing a 5.1% decline as compared to RM1.82 billion achieved in the corresponding period last year. Net profit attributable to shareholders was 5.7% lower at RM 1.33 billion. As a result, the Group posted a lower net return-on-equity of 12.5%.
 
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow, the Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Director and Adviser of Public Bank, said today, “The global economy started 2020 with major challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic. Downside pressure on the economy was further compounded with the steep fall in global oil prices. Coupled with the reductions in Overnight Policy Rate which have weighed on net interest margins, domestic banks faced heightened earnings pressure in the first quarter of 2020.”
 
Tan Sri Teh added, “However, the Public Bank Group maintained its resilient fundamentals, as reflected in the Group’s stable gross impaired loan ratio of 0.5% and efficient cost-to-income ratio of 35.7% in the first quarter of 2020.”
  
Continued Growth in Loans and Deposits
 
Although economic activities were affected by the outbreak and its containment measures, the Public Bank Group was able to achieve continued loan and deposit growth in the first quarter of 2020, albeit at more moderate growth rates.
 
The Group has always been proactively supporting the financing needs of consumers and businesses. In the first quarter of 2020, the Group recorded an annualised rate of 2.9% growth in total loans, supported by residential properties financing, commercial property financing, and passenger vehicle financing.
 
On deposit-taking, the Public Bank Group’s total customer deposits posted an annualised growth rate of 2.0%. 
 
Sustained Growth in Non-interest Income
 
In the first quarter of 2020, the Public Bank Group’s non-interest income continued to be supported by its unit trust related income, banking fee income, investment income and brokerage income.
 
Tan Sri Teh added, “The Public Bank Group’s unit trust business, managed by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Public Mutual, remained the major contributor of the Group’s non-interest income. As at 31 March 2020, Public Mutual maintained its market leadership in the retail private unit trust industry, with a market share of 34.3%. It managed a total of 158 unit trust funds with a net asset value of RM78.4 billion.” 
 
Prudent Cost Management
 
Despite that the net interest margins were under pressure, the Public Bank Group continued to record an efficient cost-to-income ratio. In the first quarter of 2020, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio stood at 35.7%, which was significantly better than the domestic banking industry’s cost-to-income ratio of 44.7%.
 
Tan Sri Teh highlighted, “Rising costs are increasingly putting pressure on profitability.  However, the Public Bank Group continues to stand out amongst its peers in cost efficiency. With the current economic challenges and the moderating revenue growth, the Group has placed greater focus on broad-based cost efficiency to protect its profitability.”  
 
Sustained Strong Asset Quality
 
The Public Bank Group’s gross impaired loan ratio stood at 0.5% as at the end of March 2020, reflecting its stable asset quality despite the significant challenges in the operating environment.
 
Tan Sri Teh commented, “The Public Bank Group’s stable asset quality was underpinned by its prudent risk management as well as lending policies and practices, along with its proactive efforts to engage with borrowers on loan recoveries.”
 
Tan Sri Teh further added, “In the face of the current extremely difficult economic condition, the Group has been actively engaging and assisting customers who encounter constraints in cash flows. In line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s directive, the Group has been offering 6-month loan moratorium as well as loan restructuring and rescheduling for borrowers who face cash flow difficulties. These relief measures, coupled with the Group’s prudent lending policy and strong credit risk profile, are expected to continue underpin the Group’s resilient asset quality.”
 
Further, the Public Bank Group has been maintaining a high loan loss coverage ratio which stood at 131.9% as at the end of March 2020. Including the RM2.0 billion regulatory reserves that the Group had set aside, its loan loss coverage was higher at 261.7%. 
 
Healthy Capital and Liquidity Position
 
As at the end of March 2020, the Public Bank Group’s common equity Tier 1 capital ratio stood at 13.3%, Tier 1 capital ratio at 13.3% and total capital ratio at 16.5%.
 
Tan Sri Teh highlighted, “2020 will be exceptionally challenging and earnings will be under pressure for banks. Nonetheless, the Public Bank Group’s resilient capital position, as well as its strong asset quality and large loan loss reserves, continue to provide a strong buffer to the Group in navigating any challenges.”
 
Tan Sri Teh further highlighted, “In terms of liquidity management, the Public Bank Group has been constantly managing its funding and liquidity profile diligently to ensure sufficient liquidity buffer is maintained at all times. The Group’s liquidity coverage ratio stood at a healthy level of 135.1% as at the end of March 2020.” 
 
Group’s Prospect
 
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on world economies, as well as the uncertainty in global oil prices are likely to continue to pose downside risks to the economy. However, proactive relief measures taken by the Government as announced in the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package and Bank Negara Malaysia’s financial and monetary measures will certainly mitigate the pressures on the country’s economic growth.
 
Tan Sri Teh concluded, “The operating environment for the banking industry is poised to be more challenging this year. With the extremely difficult economic conditions in 2020 and the reductions in Overnight Policy Rate, banks will face higher earnings pressure this year. Under the prevailing weaknesses of the current economy and the uncertainties arising from the still evolving economic landscape, the Public Bank Group will focus on enhancing its core strengths in terms of risk management and productivity. The Group’s strong fundamental and resilience will position the Group in good stead to overcome any challenges, and to pursue further business growth when the economy recovers from the outbreak.”
 
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Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow
Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Director and Adviser of Public Bank

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Public Bank And Public Islamic Bank To Reduce Its Base Rate By 0.50%
For Immediate Release
 
6 May 2020

Public Bank And Public Islamic Bank To Reduce Its Base Rate By 0.50% 

Public Bank will reduce its Base Rate (BR) and Base Lending Rate (BLR) / Base Financing Rate (BFR) by 0.50% effective 12 May 2020, in line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) cut by 50 basis points (bps) from 2.50% to 2.00% on 5 May 2020.

At the same time, Public Bank’s fixed deposit rates will also be correspondingly adjusted by 0.50%, effective on the same date.

The year to date cumulative reduction in Base Rate of 100 bps will assist in easing the borrowers’ burden and this is especially significant under the current challenging period brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak and the enforcement of the Movement Control Order necessary to stem the outbreak.  This coupled with the government’s fiscal stimulus and BNM’s financial relief measures will lend support to the economy enabling the gradual recovery in the economic activities. 

Public Bank is always committed to providing necessary financial assistance to its customers, particularly during this current period of the unprecedented Covid-19 outbreak.

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Public Bank Provides Non-Compounded Interest on Loans During Moratorium Period

For Immediate Release

27 March 2020

Public Bank Provides Non-Compounded Interest​ on Loans During Moratorium Period 

Public Bank is providing a six-month moratorium for the monthly instalment payments of loans for all eligible individual and business customers, with no compounded interest during this deferment period from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.

For Islamic financing, profit will continue to accrue on the outstanding principal amount.  Such profit will not be compounded as well, in line with Shariah principles.

Public Bank Managing Director, Tan Sri Tay Ah Lek said, “Following Bank Negara Malaysia’s announcement on 25 March 2020, Public Bank further extends the relief assistance to its customers by not charging any compounding interest on the interest that accrues during the moratorium period.”

Tan Sri Tay further added, “With the escalating Covid-19 outbreak, Public Bank is very concerned about its impact on the nation and hopes this extended financial assistance will provide additional relief to its customers.”

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Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tay Ah Lek
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer

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Public Bank Provides Uninterrupted Services And Financial Relief Assistance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This press release is issued by
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tay Ah Lek
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer
Public Bank Berhad

18 March 2020
 

Public Bank Provides Uninterrupted Services And Financial Relief Assistance


(1)  Uninterrupted Services During The Movement Control Order Period

Public Bank and Public Islamic Bank are operating as usual during the period of the Government’s Movement Control Order (“MCO”) from 18 to 31 March 2020.

Public Bank Managing Director, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tay Ah Lek said today, “With directives under the MCO, and also to fulfill its obligation as a financial services provider, Public Bank continues to operate as usual. The Bank will ensure uninterrupted access to all its services nationwide by its customers during this containment period.”

Public Bank’s total branch network will remain open as per normal business hours throughout this period. Accesses to all the Bank’s services, such as self-service terminals, loan applications and deposit businesses, remittance and card services will remain uninterrupted. For the safety and health of its customers and employees, the Bank will practise crowd containment and management measures at its branches.

Public Bank’s online banking channels remain uninterrupted. For banking transactions, customers are advised to utilise the Bank’s electronic banking, mobile banking and other online services, as part of its social distancing measures to ensure effective containment of COVID-19 outbreak.

(2)  Special Relief Facility For SME Customers

Public Bank is working concertedly with Bank Negara Malaysia in offering the Special Relief Facility to SME customers during this challenging period. The Bank has enhanced its internal processes to facilitate faster loan approval and disbursement to assist eligible SME customers to overcome their financial constraint amid this difficult situation. SMEs which intend to apply for the Special Relief Facility are advised to approach any Public Bank branches, or email to pbbsmesupport@publicbank.com.my, for financial advice and assistance.

(3)  Relief Assistance Programme For Loan Repayment

For individual and business customers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, Public Bank is offering immediate moratorium of up to six months for the monthly instalment payments of loans and financing. In addition, the Bank will continue to accommodate requests by the affected customers to restructure or reschedule their loans and financing, to assist in their cash-flow situation during this difficult time.

Tan Sri Tay said, “As the outbreak escalates, Public Bank will continue to be very active in providing financial relief measures to help all its customers to alleviate their financial difficulties.”

Contacts

Customers who have any enquiries or require assistance may contact the Bank’s toll-free number at 1800 22 5555.
 

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Public Bank And Public Islamic Bank To Reduce Its Base Rate By 0.25%
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This press release is issued by
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Tay Ah Lek
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer
Public Bank Berhad

4 March 2020
Public Bank And Public Islamic Bank To Reduce Its Base Rate By 0.25%

Public Bank will reduce its Base Rate (BR) and Base Lending Rate (BLR) / Base Financing Rate (BFR) by 0.25% effective 6 March 2020, in line with Bank Negara Malaysia’s Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) cut by 25 basis points from 2.75% to 2.50% on 3 March 2020.

At the same time, Public Bank’s fixed deposit rates will also be correspondingly adjusted by 0.25%, effective on the same date.

Public Bank’s Base Rate reduction is timely to ease the borrowers’ burden and to spur the nation’s economic growth amidst the on-going economic challenges brought about by the Covid-19 outbreak. Public Bank will continue to proactively manage its assets and liabilities to ensure interest rates are priced responsibly at all times for the benefit of its customers.
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Public Bank Group Achieved Pre-Tax Profit Of RM7.13 Billion For 2019 And Declared Higher Second Interim Dividend Of 40 Sen

For Immediate Release

26 February 2020

Public Bank Group Achieved Pre-Tax Profit Of RM7.13 Billion For 2019 And Declared Higher Second Interim Dividend Of 40 Sen
 
Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow, the Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Director and Adviser of Public Bank, announced, “For the financial year of 2019, the Public Bank Group recorded a 1.9% growth in its operating revenue to RM22.45 billion. This had led to a higher pre-tax profit of RM7.13 billion, as compared to RM7.10 billion reported in the previous year. Net profit attributable to shareholders was recorded at RM5.51 billion. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, pre-tax profit and net profit attributable to shareholders grew by 3.4% and 3.2% respectively as compared to the third quarter of the year.”
 
Tan Sri Teh added, “2019 was a year with strong headwinds and increased challenges. Economic growth across developed and emerging countries had further moderated. The reduction in Overnight Policy Rate in May 2019 had placed further pressure on net interest margins which affected profitability of the domestic banking sector for the year. However, the Public Bank Group was still able to sustain stable profitability in 2019 through an above-industry growth in financing and deposit-taking businesses, a commendable growth of 8.4% in non-interest income and the strong asset quality.”
 
Tan Sri Teh further added, “Under the current challenging operating environment, the Public Bank Group is of the view that preserving strong asset quality and prudent cost management is the key to long term sustainability of earnings. Thus, the Group has been holding firm on its key principle of prudent credit management and continues to emphasise on productivity and operational efficiency. As a result, the Group continued to sustain the lowest gross impaired loan ratio of 0.5% and most efficient cost-to-income ratio of 34.4%, as compared to its domestic peers. Coupled with the Group’s stable profitability, the Group continued to achieve a resilient net return-on-equity of 13.6% in 2019.”
 
With this stable profitability performance and healthy balance sheet growth, Tan Sri Teh announced, “For the financial year of 2019, as the Public Bank Group continued to achieve solid financial strength, and also in appreciation of shareholders’ support, the Board of Directors is pleased to declare a higher second interim dividend of 40 sen. Together with the first interim dividend of 33 sen, the Group’s full year dividend for 2019 would amount to 73 sen, as compared to 69 sen paid in 2018. This would translate into a total of RM2.83 billion which represents 51.4% payout of the Group’s net profit for 2019. The second interim dividend will be paid on 20 March 2020, based on the dividend entitlement date of 12 March 2020.”
 
Healthy Growth in Loans and Deposits
 
The Public Bank Group continued to achieve healthy growth performance in its core business of financing. In 2019, the Group achieved a 4.1% growth in total loans. This was mainly driven by domestic loan growth of 4.5%, which was higher than the domestic banking system’s loan growth of 3.9%. This was attributable to the Group’s competitive market position in residential property financing, commercial property financing and hire purchase financing, with the Group continuing to capture leading market share in the domestic banking industry, which stood at 19.9%, 35.0% and 29.4% respectively as at the end of 2019.
 
On deposit-taking, the Public Bank Group achieved a 4.2% growth in total customer deposits. On domestic front, the Group achieved a stronger growth of 4.7% in total customer deposits, which was also higher than the domestic banking system’s deposit growth of 2.9%.
 
Tan Sri Teh said, “With the healthy loan and deposit growth during the year, the Group had continued to sustain a healthy funding position as reflected in its gross loan to fund and equity ratio of 79.2%.”
 
Continued Growth in Non-interest Income
 
For the financial year of 2019, the Public Bank Group continued to achieve a commendable growth of 8.4% in non-interest income, led by higher investment income.
 
Tan Sri Teh highlighted that, “Public Mutual, Public Bank’s wholly-owned unit trust subsidiary, remained the major contributor to the Public Bank Group’s non-interest income. In 2019, Public Mutual sustained its industry leading position, with retail market share of 35.0%. This is on the back of a continued growth of 10.0% in its total net asset value under management to RM86.6 billion as at the end of 2019, with a total of 156 unit trust funds being managed.” 
 
Leading Cost Efficiency
 
In 2019, the Public Bank Group sustained its competitive strength in cost management, with its cost-to-income ratio at 34.4%, which remained the most efficient among peers. This was significantly better than the domestic banking system’s cost-to-income ratio of 44.6%.
 
Tan Sri Teh reiterated, “In line with the overall trend in the domestic banking landscape, the Public Bank Group faced rising cost pressure arising from investments in human capital, banking technology, compliance with regulations and building capabilities for future growth. However, the Group had maintained its long term practice of prudent cost management, which continued to efficiently and effectively support the Group’s organisational growth.”
 
Sustaining Superior Asset Quality
 
As at the end of 2019, the Public Bank Group’s gross impaired loans ratio remained low and stable at 0.5%, which continued to be well below the domestic banking system’s gross impaired loans ratio of 1.5%.
 
Tan Sri Teh highlighted, “When the banking industry is concerned about the uptick in impaired loans amid the increasing economic challenges, the Public Bank Group continued to lead by its strong asset quality, despite its growing loan portfolio. Notwithstanding this, the Group had maintained a high loan loss coverage ratio of 124.1%, which was higher than the domestic banking industry’s loan loss coverage ratio of 89.6%. Including the RM2.0 billion regulatory reserves that the Group had set aside, the Group’s loan loss coverage ratio was higher at 249.8%.”
 
Overseas Operations
 
The Public Bank Group’s overseas operations contributed 10.4% to the Group’s pre-tax profit in 2019. This was largely driven by the Group’s operations in Indo-China and Hong Kong.
 
Tan Sri Teh added, “Cambodian Public Bank Plc (“Campu Bank”) continued to sustain its position as the largest foreign bank in Cambodia, and reported a higher profit of USD82 million in 2019.  The Group’s operation in Vietnam, Public Bank Vietnam Limited (“PBVN”), had also delivered commendable performance. In 2019, PBVN achieved 25.8% loan growth and posted 48.2% profit growth to VND387 billion. The Group is in the process of expanding its branch network and strengthening its sales force for its Vietnam operation. In addition to the existing branch network of 20 branches, PBVN has obtained regulatory approval to open another six more branches in 2020, with a target to reach 40 branches in the medium term.”
 
Healthy Capital Position
 
The Public Bank Group’s capital position remained healthy. The Group’s common equity Tier 1 capital ratio, Tier 1 capital ratio and total capital ratio stands at 13.5%, 13.5% and 16.8% respectively as at the end of 2019, after deducting the second interim dividend to be paid.
 
Tan Sri Teh commented, “The Public Bank Group places great focus on effective capital management. The Group adopts a balanced strategy in maintaining sufficient capital buffer to meet regulatory requirement, whilst ensuring capital efficiency in generating optimum return to its shareholders.”
 
Group’s Prospect
 
For 2020, the Malaysian economy is expected to continue to be driven by domestic demand, underpinned by the stable labour market and the ongoing fiscal investments. However, lingering uncertainties in the macro environment is likely to continue into 2020, with the banking sector bracing for another year of challenges. 
 
Tan Sri Teh concluded, “With the expected uncertainties lying ahead, it is imperative to remain vigilant against multiple risks stemming from the challenging economic environment. However, the Group will remain cautiously optimistic, as its strong market position and sound foundation, coupled with a growing domestic economy, will continue to support and drive business growth in 2020. The Group will remain focused on organic growth strategy and continue to sharpen its competitive capabilities to strengthen resilience in its core business in retail and commercial banking. Sustaining stable profitability and preserving strong asset quality will remain as the Group’s strategic focus going forward.”

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Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Dato' Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow
Founder, Chairman Emeritus, Director and Adviser of Public Bank

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