RETAIL BANKING | Tony Chua, Malaysia

RHB Bank eager to buy Thai banks

Despite Maybank and CIMB bid for takeover, the lender is still looking at medium-sized and large banks acquisitions.

Malaysia's fifth-largest lender, RHB Bank Berhad, is interested in acquisitions in Thailand to tap strong growth in the country's banking sector, an executive said on Wednesday.

Malaysia's top two banks are interested in taking over RHB but that would not affect its own expansion plans, RHB's principal officer, Renzo Viegas, said.

He declined to disclose how much RHB had earmarked for acquisitions in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy but said it was keen on medium-sized and large banks.

"We don't need a very small bank, but something that extends our distribution and product (offering)," he said at a news conference to mark the launch of an RHB branch in Bangkok.

"Our shareholders are people with deep pockets," he said, referring to Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund, which owns 45 percent of RHB.

RHB has acquired small Indonesian lender Bank Mestika to expand outside its home market, where increasing competition is expected to spur consolidation in the banking sector.

View the full story in Reuters.

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