The Best of Two Worlds
Under the National Co-operative Policy 2011 – 2020, one of the aims was to increase the contribution of co-operatives to national economic development. In order to reach that goal, cooperatives need to enhance their capabilities, capacity and efficiency. One co-operative that has been demonstrating excellence is Co-opbank Pertama – the country’s first co-operative bank. Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Nor Abd Razak, highlights its past, present and exciting road ahead.
“Co-opbank Pertama (CPB) became the first co-operative bank in Malaysia when we received the licence from Bank Negara in 2014. And so far we are the only co-operative bank out of 14,000 co-operatives in the country.”
The fact that we are both a co-operative and a bank makes us unique because this means that we are governed by two regulators. As a bank, we are under Bank Negara’s guidelines, while Suruhanjaya Koperasi Malaysia (SKM – the Cooperatives Commission of Malaysia) oversees us as a cooperative. As such, the products we provide are a mix of both worlds.
Although we were granted the status of a co-operative bank in 2014, our history goes back further than that, as far as 1951 before Merdeka, when we were first known as the Province Wellesley Co-operative Banking Union Limited based in Penang. These more than 70 years of experience have shaped the way we do business.
Over the years, we have faced and overcome a number of challenges. For instance, when I joined in 2017, we were required by Bank Negara to increase our market capital, which was around RM300 million at that time. What we did was to introduce Islamic Convertible Preference Shares, and we managed to increase our capital to RM1 billion.
Of course, in 2020 and even up to now, we have the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the problems that come with it, I am pleased to say that CPB performed exceptionally well last year. For instance, our assets went up by RM1.8 billion to RM5.8 billion. Also, we recorded our highest ever unaudited profit before tax amounting to RM86.4 million, which surpassed the record of RM73.9 million in 2019.
Spurred Towards Excellence
We are also proud to be recognised as the best co-operative in Malaysia in 2020, according to the ranking by SKM. This is a huge achievement for us, and inspire us to continue our excellent performance in 2021 and beyond.
That is why this year, we are focused on planning and achieving big. For instance, we introduced our Ar-Rahnu or Islamic pawn broking services in November last year, and we have a strategy in place to grow this and be a champion of Ah-Rahnu business in Malaysia.
At the same time, we also remain committed to our personal and mortgage financing services. We target to disburse RM1.35 billion for personal financing and RM60 million for mortgage financing this year.
With the support of our Board, our members, our staff and our customers, we are confident that we can meet, and even exceed, the targets set.”