UOB Malaysia partners Asian Banking School to launch finance industry’s first executive certification programme for SME bankers

Sep 6, 2016:

United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) has partnered the Asian Banking School (ABS), an affiliate institute of Bank Negara Malaysia, to launch the finance industry’s first executive certification programme designed for small- and medium-enterprise (SME) bankers in Malaysia.

As Malaysian SMEs expand into new markets, they may face challenges such as international trade risk, gaining access to bank financing or adapting to unfamiliar business environments. Taking into account these difficulties, the UOB-ABS SME Banking Executive Certificate will impart specialist skills and the knowledge necessary for bankers to cater to the financial needs of small businesses.

The three-month programme combines classroom-based, experiential training in the areas of credit and risk management, SME business models and client management. This includes cultivating stronger issue-resolution and collaboration skills, which will enable them to help customers overcome financial challenges and in turn, build long-term relationships. Upon completion of the programme, UOB Malaysia’s Business Banking officers will have a deeper understanding of the characteristics of SMEs, business trends as well as the challenges companies face in Malaysia.

(Fourth from left) Mr Raymond Chui, Country Head, Business Banking, United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd; Mr Tan Choon Hin, Head of Group Business Banking, United Overseas Bank (Singapore) Ltd; Professor Colyn Gardner, Chief Executive Officer of Asian Banking School; and Ms Agnes Chew, Director of Training, Asian Banking School with the UOB-ABS SME Banking Executive Certificate programme trainers and participants.

SMEs form the backbone of Malaysia’s economy, accounting for 97 per cent of the country’s business establishments and almost one-third of its gross domestic product. Most Malaysian SMEs operate in the services, wholesale trade and retail industries. With greater regional economic integration and more foreign products entering Malaysia’s market, there is a growing need for Malaysian companies to embark on regional expansion to tap into new market opportunities.

According to Mr Raymond Chui, Head of Business Banking, UOB Malaysia, many SMEs are looking for cross-border opportunities and UOB Malaysia is well-placed to help its customers expand their reach and realise their growth ambitions.

“We expect a greater number of our SME customers to seize opportunities abroad and to increase their export and import volume. Cross-border initiatives such as the ASEAN Economic Community, Trans-Pacific Partnership, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and The Belt and Road that promote regional connectivity are providing the conditions for SMEs to make that leap and expand their business.

“SMEs need bankers with specialist skills who understand what it takes to do business across borders, whether it is managing foreign exchange risk or navigating the regulatory landscape in different markets. Unlike large corporations, which typically have a dedicated unit to focus on growth and expansion, SMEs have to juggle between managing their day-to-day operational issues at home while still keeping an eye on their future development overseas. Understanding this challenge and providing the right solutions that are practical and timely can make all the difference to a growing business,” said Mr Chui.

ABS Chief Executive Officer, Professor Colyn Gardner said that the school is pleased to be working with UOB Malaysia on this ground-breaking programme for SME bankers.

“The UOB-ABS SME Banking Executive Certificate is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive approach to learning. The programme will be delivered by our in-house specialist training consultancy team who each have more than 30 years of experience at some of the world’s largest international banks. The training will enable participants to gain knowledge by exposing them to topical case studies and panel discussions with successful entrepreneurs. UOB Malaysia is setting a standard in the industry with the launch of this programme,” he said.

The UOB-ABS SME Banking Executive Certificate is part of UOB Malaysia’s career development programme to encourage continuous training and skills development among its employees. The Bank expects to train 100 SME bankers by the end of 2017.