KUALA LUMPUR: Agrobank, formerly known as Bank Pertanian Malaysia Bhd, eyes a minimum of RM1.0 bil loan growth in 2020 over last year’s RM11.75 bil loan disbursement.

Khadijah Iskandar, the covering president and CEO of the government-owned agricultural development bank, said in the past five years, the bank had been growing by an average of close to 10%, although the banking sector was growing by only 3%-4%.

“The bank will continue to focus on strengthening its value chain financing to support various activities related to agriculture upstream, mainstream as well as downstream.

“As a bank which understands the needs of the country’s agricultural sector, we are are also committed to empowering the B40 (bottomg 40% of the income scale) target group via our structured micro-financing based on the 3A objectives of accessibility, availability and affordability.

“At present, Agrobank has over 11 micro-finance programmes nationwide covering padI cultivation, chilli fertiliser, oil palm, dairy cows, pineapple and swiftlet farming, among others,” she said on the sidelines of a partnership signing ceremony between the bank and Petronas here today.

Under the partnership, Petronas is allocating RM100 mil to be managed by Agrobank for the financing of B40 micro-entrepreneurs in the agricultural and agro-based sectors.

This collaboration, she said, will further expand Agrobank’s reach to enhance financial access for agro-based communities.

Khadijah noted that the bank’s journey to embed the principles of value-based intermediation (VBI) into its business is in line, and also shares similarities, with the government’s Shared Prosperity Vision to empower the B40 economy and elevate their social status in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, chief business officer Ahmad Shahril Mohd Shariff said the bank’s non-performing loans (NPL) ratio remains manageable at 4.3%, much better than the double-digit figures five to 10 years ago.

“As a development bank, we would continue to target loan growth, but at the same time would emphasise on the quality of assets,” he added.

He pointed out that 85% of its funds are from its depositors, with the balance from government funding. – Jan 28, 2020, Bernama

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