Time for local bank to expand overseas

I CAN say with absolute certainty that this local bank I am referring to is the largest bank in Brunei.

If you compare the 2017 financial statements, this bank’s total assets stand at BND9.2 billion, dwarfing its closest competitor with BND3 billion.

When touching on profitability, the same gap is seen with the bank achieving BND170 million in total comprehensive income while its closest competitor stands at BND50 million.

The bank’s size and performance in the face of a challenging market conditions is commendable.

The next question is what the bank will do with its dominance in the local market.

I am sure the bank would like to maintain the ‘status quo’ and perhaps further cement its place locally.

But considering the challenging market conditions, how much further can you grow?

This can be an opportunity as the bank can expand internationally and explore the idea of creating branches or subsidiaries in other countries.

Considering the fact that the bank is currently rated at A- with a stable outlook from Standard & Poor’s (international credit rating agency), being ranked the 2nd strongest bank in Southeast Asia and also one of the Top 10 strongest banks in the Asia Pacific – there may be some merit in expanding internationally.

Now, upon exploring the bank’s website, to my surprise, they did indeed establish an office in Singapore and a subsidiary in Dubai.

I told people about this and nine out 10 people were not aware of this.

The thought of a local brand in strong financial markets such as Singapore and Dubai is definitely something to be proud off for every Bruneian.

To my recollection, I don’t believe there was any media coverage on the opening ceremony on this.

Nevertheless, I do hope that the bank would shed some light into the functions of the office in Singapore and the subsidiary in Dubai.

– Bru Bernanke