Amid worsening net interest margin compression as Malaysia’s retail banks aggressively hike rates—close to prime lending rates—Ambank is taking measures to compete for deposits and maintain its position. Aaron Loo, head of retail banking, said the bank is focusing on technology-driven solutions, strategic collaborations, and sustainable finance to meet customer needs and retain their operating accounts.

Loo remarked: “We are rethinking our distribution networks and focusing on digital transformation to enhance customer experiences.” The bank has invested significantly in its online platform to provide customers with a seamless and personalised banking experience. Additionally, Ambank has transformed selected branches into fully digital spaces manned by tech-savvy support teams, reflecting its customer-centric community banking approach.Recognising the significance of small and micro-enterprises in smaller towns, Ambank has formed partnerships with co-working spaces.

Loo said: “By providing co-working spaces within our branches, we are adding value beyond traditional banking services.” It has co-located food and beverage establishment Bask Bear Coffee in three pilot branches that aim to become meeting hubs for businesses and their customers. These collaborations offer SME owners a conducive environment for business operations while also providing access to essential banking services.

Loo emphasised Ambank’s commitment to supporting startups and younger emerging affluent customers with tailored financial advice and investment opportunities. He said: “We are targeting younger customers who want to start exploring investment options.” The bank’s wealth management services cater to the financial aspirations of these emerging customer segments.

Loo asserted Ambank’s focus on sustainable finance and environmental, social, and governance initiatives through financing for electric vehicles and installing charging stations at its branches. The bank’s strategic partnerships with sustainable projects and ESG-focused organisations further demonstrate its commitment to environmental and social responsibility.