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Top Malaysian lenders Maybank, CIMB post mixed quarterly results

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Malaysia's largest bank by assets, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), recorded a drop in its quarterly profit and warned of a challenging 2018, while competitor CIMB Group Holdings Bhd's earnings rose.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's largest bank by assets, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), recorded a drop in its quarterly profit and warned of a challenging 2018, while competitor CIMB Group Holdings Bhd's earnings rose.

Maybank recorded an 11 per cent decline in fourth-quarter net profit, despite a slight rise in net interest income. Excluding one-off proceeds from the sale of securities in 2016 the profit rose by 22.4 per cent, a statement released by the bank showed.

"This year looks to be equally challenging as 2017 given the volatile markets we saw at the start of the year," group president and chief executive, Datuk Abdul Farid Alias said in a statement.

He, however, said discipline in pricing and a focused execution of its business plan helped the bank achieve a record performance for 2017, with profit before tax breaching the 10 billion ringgit (S$3.37 billion) mark for the first time, compared with the 8.84 billion ringgit a year earlier.

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CIMB, Malaysia's second-largest bank, said it was targeting improved loan growth this year as it expects performance in its Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore units to recover.

Group loan growth weakened to 0.2 per cent last year against a target of 7 per cent, dragged by poorer performance in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore and as well as the impact of foreign exchange movements.

The bank's domestic loan growth lifted overall group loan growth, at 6.5 per cent driven mostly by the consumer segment, the bank said.

"We are expecting Indonesia to come in with mid single digit loan growth, and high single digit for Thailand and Singapore (this year)," group chief financial officer Shahnaz Jammal said at an earnings briefing.

Group chief executive Zafrul Aziz said CIMB saw higher provisions in the Singapore and Thailand markets for commodity-related loans last year.

CIMB reported a 24 per cent jump in fourth-quarter net profit, helped by a rise in non-interest income and cost-cutting.

Net non-interest income rose 8 per cent to 1.3 billion ringgit, while net interest income fell 4.5 per cent to 2.53 billion ringgit.

REUTERS