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Lead story:

AFTER THE CRISIS
Getting Rid of the Rust: Three years after the Crisis, many in the Asiaweek Financial 500 are in the black. Will profitability last?

NATIONS UPDATE
Mini-charts on your nation's banking market:
Australia China IndonesiaJapanPhilippinesSingaporeSouth KoreaTaiwan Thailand Hong Kong Malaysia
and the best performing banks in India Sri LankaPakistanBangladesh

ASIA'S HOTTEST STOCKS

Money and Investing: Riding the hottest financial stocks in Asia (plus the 100 hottest bank stocks)

PLUS
Foreign Invasion?: Overseas banks go slow on buyouts
Technology: The nitty gritty of Internet banking
Halfway at full speed: Hong Kong and Singapore rebound
The Acquired: What Danu Bank learned form its new owner
The Home-Alone Bank: Why Taiwan's Chinatrust didn't expand


Financial 500 Archive
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1996 | 1995


Asiaweek 1000
Your guide to Asia's 1000 largest companies

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Malaysia: Matchmaker, Make Me a Match
Snapshot: 33 banks in the 500 (1999: 34) Assets: $140.7b. ($134.1b.) Profits: $1.1b. (-$235m.)

Economic recovery is helping Malaysian banks repair balance sheets, but margins are being squeezed as deposit rates have gone up to attract savers. In the short term, rising interest rates at year-end would be another threat.

RESTRUCTURING The tumult of the last year, not unlike a school dance in which boys and girls are ordered to pair off, has produced merger and acquisition contracts that will cut the number of banks from 23 last year to just ten. Still, if you're expecting quick movement on layoffs, branch closures and efficiency savings to improve bottom-line results for the institutions, then you don't know Malaysia.

LENDING Despite scathing criticism from PM Mahathir Mohamad, loan growth remains meager — nowhere near the central bank's 8% target.

REGULATION The nation has tried to improve, but consider that a loan isn't classed as non-performing until it has been in arrears for at least six months. In the rest of Asia (and the world) the standard is 90 days.

LIBERALIZATION Officials plan no easing of rules against foreign ownership.

Performance Topnotchers: 10 Best Performing Banks

   Institution  HQ
Assets
$ Mill
Profits
$ Mill
Profit as % of

500

Rank

Assets Equity
1 MALAYAN BANKING Kuala Lumpur 30,915 255.2 0.8% 10.5% 75
2 BUMIPUTRA-COMMERCE BANK Kuala Lumpur 16,747 42.8 0.3% 4.5% 126
3 RHB BANK Kuala Lumpur 13,676 71.8 0.5% 6.5% 148
4 PUBLIC BANK Kuala Lumpur 11,378 162.1 1.4% 16.0% 167
5 HONG LEONG BANK Kuala Lumpur 6,458 30.9 0.5% 6.7% 225
6 HSBC BANK MALAYSIA Kuala Lumpur 5,927 -125.4 238
7 STANDARD CHARTERED BANK MAL. Kuala Lumpur 4,727 89.0 1.9% 27.5% 270
8 SOUTHERN BANK Kuala Lumpur 4,631 27.0 0.6% 5.3% 271
9 OCBC BANK (MALAYSIA) Kuala Lumpur 4,432 53.0 1.2% 13.0% 275
10 CITIBANK Kuala Lumpur 3,997 90.9 2.3% 27.9% 290

Write to Asiaweek at mail@web.asiaweek.com

Rating show the number of banks in each category; "E" is the lowest grade for financial soundness. Souce: Moody's Investors Service


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