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LENDING & CREDIT | Cesar Tordesillas, Malaysia
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Public Bank registers 4% loan growth for 1st quarter

Public Bank reported a loan growth of US$1.4 billion to reach US$38.8 billion as at the end of March 2009. The growth, pegged at 4 percent, is much higher than the banking industry’s loan growth rate of 0.4 percent for the first two months of 2009.

Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow, Chairman of the Public Bank Group, noted that the challenging market environment made the growth more significant.

"Notwithstanding the still very challenging market environment, a healthy loan growth rate was achieved in the first quarter. This was due to the extensive sales and marketing efforts of the Group, whilst continuing to maintain the Group’s stringent lending policies, with the aim of expanding the Group’s high quality loan portfolio to generate long-term returns," said Dr. Teh.

The Group’s domestic loan market share remained high at 14.9 percent as at the end of February 2009.

In the first quarter of 2009, loan applications received by Public Bank increased by 9 percent as compared to the corresponding period of 2008, whilst loan approvals grew by 11 percent to US$3.027 billion over the same period. The lending activities of the Public Bank Group remained focused on the retail sector, particularly in loans to mid-market commercial enterprises and loans for the financing of residential properties and purchase of passenger vehicles, which accounted for 78 percent of the total loan portfolio of the Group as at the end of March 2009.

The Public Bank Group continued to provide financing to SMEs for their working capital and business expansion needs. For the first quarter of 2009, the Group approved a total of US$665 million of loans to domestic SMEs which accounted for 22 percent of the Group’s total new domestic loans approved of US$3.027 billion for the same period. Public Bank and Public Islamic Bank have been actively promoting the Government’s Working Capital Guarantee Scheme for its SME customers.

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