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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

BSN home loans may hit RM3.1b this year

BANK Simpanan Nasional (BSN) expects home financing, the second largest contributor to its total loan portfolio, to increase to RM3.1 billion by the end of this year from RM2.6 billion now.

BSN chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi said the increase will be partly due to contribution from the public housing loan scheme, which will add growth to its housing loans by 20 to 30 per cent.

BSN is one of the banks that have signed agreements with Syarikat Jaminan Kredit Perumahan Bhd, a subsidiary of the Finance Ministry, to provide guarantee to financial institutions that disburse the loans under the scheme.

Currently, housing loans form 37 per cent of BSN's total loan portfolio, after personal loans which contribute 57 per cent.

Speaking to reporters after a ceremony to mark BSN's migration to a broadband system in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Abdul Azim also said BSN is targeting RM180 million in micro-financing this year, up from RM4.5 million last year.

The bank's non-performing loans (NPLs) stand at single digit, while its deposits total over RM8 billion.

Meanwhile, Abdul Azim said the bank has budgeted RM25 million for branch expansion over the next five years.

This would see some branches being relocated, closed down or merged.

"We are looking at (expanding to) 400 branches from the current 375 branches," he said, adding that some branches would be opened at new townships.

BSN will also add 100 more automated teller machines (ATMs) to its existing 603 ATMs.

He said BSN plans to spend RM220 million on information technology within the next five years.

Of the total, RM32 million has been allocated for the bank's network migration into the hybrid Internet Protocol virtual private network secured broadband.

The project was awarded to HeiTech Padu Bhd in June 2007 and was completed within five months.

HeiTech Padu executive chairman Datuk Mohd Hilmey Mohd Taib said the network migration, through the deployment of Padu*IP Broadband system, will generate about 30 per cent cost-saving to BSN and is five times faster than the previous analogue system.

Asked on Vantage Point Consulting Sdn Bhd (VPC), he said HeiTech Padu, which currently has a 50 per cent stake in VPC, has no plans to reduce its shareholding in the company.

"But if there is new injection (of capital), our stake may be diluted," he said, confirming that there are local investors interested in VPC.

"We will announce it when it is confirmed," he said.

He also said that at the moment, HeiTech Padu has no plan to list VPC.

By New Straits Times (by Hamisah Hamid)

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