CIMB Bank has announced its commitment to disburse at least RM15 billion in the next two years to help finance 100,000 small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) in Malaysia. The Bank will focus on helping SMEs have easier access to loans below RM500,000, in support of the government’s push for an entrepreneur-friendly enabling environment to boost Malaysia’s economy. CIMB Bank disbursed a total of RM17.8 billion in 2016-2018 to support the growth of 17,000 Malaysian SMEs by providing working capital, asset financing and trade finance. Its latest offerings include leveraging on business assets as additional working capital; and extending unsecured loans to SMEs who are awaiting their GST refund. The latter is offered at a lower interest rate, with a flexible payment period and interest servicing up to six months, to help small businesses manage their cash flow. Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz, Group CEO of CIMB Group commented, “SMEs make up a major pillar of the Malaysian economy and CIMB is committed to boost the SME industry in Malaysia as well as across ASEAN by leveraging our deep expertise and extensive network within the region. In fact, in 2018, SMEs made up 62% of CIMB’s unsecured lending below RM500,000.” “This year, in line with Forward23, our new mid-term growth plan, CIMB’s refreshed SME proposition is aimed at not just financing smaller firms and entrepreneurs, but also by helping them grow their businesses locally or beyond Malaysia’s shores. With Forward23’s focus on Tech & Data, we are also investing at least RM2 billion to strengthen the Group’s digital proposition. For SMEs, this means simpler and speedier access to our products and services, so they can really focus on running their businesses,” continued Tengku Zafrul. SME loans contributed more than 20% to CIMB Group’s revenue in FY2018 and this is expected to grow by at least 20% in 2019 through CIMB’s refreshed SME proposition. CIMB also sees huge potential in its unique halal corridor proposition, with its strong ecosystem and regional network that could support SMEs’ venture into the export market beyond Malaysian borders. Focusing on agribusiness, cosmetics, F&B, modest fashion and pharmaceuticals, CIMB’s halal corridor proposition is poised to help SMEs access, for example, the ASEAN-China corridor with a combined customer base of 266 million Muslims. One recent example is how CIMB is helping SimplySiti, a home-grown halal cosmetics brand, to venture into Indonesia.