Growing With Malaysia

Mar 03, 2014 1 Min Read


AmBank Group has refreshed its brand to stay connected wit

h both customers and employees. Its new tagline “Your Bank. Malaysia’s Bank. AmBank.” boldly asserts the Group as an integral part of Malaysian society, with a promise to understand and meet the diverse needs of modern Malaysia.

“As one of the largest banking groups in Malaysia we recognise that the financial services market is rapidly evolving.

“Customers have become far more sophisticated, with more complex and demanding expectations,” explains Group Managing Director, Ashok Ramamurthy.

With the launch of its brand repositioning in 2013, the Malaysian-grown bank is committed to growing its products, services and solutions according to the needs and expectations of Malaysia’s market.

“We needed to move forward to not lose our positioning in such a fast moving market. It has been seven years since our last repositioning exercise and we were probably seen as ‘traditional’ and ‘local’.

“We wanted to evolve our brand to ensure it is relevant, current, appealing and connected with our customers,” says Ashok.

A bold approach

AmBank Group’s financial services offerings are wide-ranging, including retail, small business, commercial, corporate and institutional, investment banking, funds management, general insurance, life insurance and family takaful.

“Within our various businesses, we bank close to six million retail customers and a large number of business customers,” says the Group Managing Director.

“Malaysia is seeking to become more affluent, with a growing population of younger people, increasing use of social media and digital, and wanting to take a leadership position in the region in diverse facets.

“We want AmBank Group to reflect modern Malaysia’s aspirations. We want to connect with our customers and demonstrate the diversity of our offerings,” he explains.

According to Ashok, the Group is evolving into a more customer-centric organisation, placing priority on improving relationships, products and services, and providing financial solutions that meet customers’ needs.

The Group is investing in initiatives to make banking an easier and simpler experience, and the most visible change since the repositioning of their brand is in their look and feel.

From refreshed advertising templates, new colour treatments, visual transformation of brand elements at branches, to improved service levels, the Group has invested heavily to ensure its new brand proposition is reflected in every aspect of the organisation.

Malaysia’s Bank

As consumers and jobseekers are presented with a vast array of choices today, Ashok acknowledges the need for AmBank Group to create “high perceived value”.

For customers, “We are well known in the marketplace in various categories, such as funds management, Islamic banking, Islamic capital markets, retail banking and investment banking, particularly in debt capital markets.”

He identifies the Group’s international partnerships as one of its value propositions.

“We are the only local bank with international connectivity as seen in our strategic partnership with the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, or ANZ, a super-regional bank,” he says.

“We also have Insurance Australia Group (IAG) as our general insurance partner and have chosen MetLife as our life insurance and family takaful partner, subject to Bank Negara’s approval.”

But even after all this, “Malaysia’s Bank” is a forward-looking statement, and the Group is building tangible proof points to deliver on this catchy tagline.

“We can only become Malaysia’s bank when we can clearly demonstrate our market knowledge and competencies, as well as a keen understanding of our customers, to establish even stronger and more diversified relationships with them,” he says.

With this new proposition, the Group is increasing its focus on specific segments.

These include the emerging affluent, and small business customers in retail banking and in specific industry segments that are key to the long-term growth of the nation, as envisaged in the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

It aims to deepen its offerings to existing customers to ensure long-term and sustainable relationships, while continuing to provide offerings to new customers that are seen as attractive and differentiated.

“We serve a large number of Malaysia’s customers. Our market share of customers is significantly higher than our market share of deposits, loans, funds and financing.

“Our challenge is to convert our customer market share into an equivalent position in all these aspects,” says Ashok.

External & internal connection

Connection is seen as central to the Group’s success, and is the first element its three-fold mission of “Connecting, Growing and Outperforming.”

“By becoming better connected to our customers, we will stand out. We will be able to identify products and financial solutions to attract new customers and engage existing customers more effectively,” he says.

“This not only benefits our customers but gives our employees a sense of pride in their work.”

Since the launch of this new brand positioning in September 2013, the Group Managing Director says there has been greater clarity in the Group’s strategic direction.

As a result, employees have been better connected in the achievement of these shared goals. Strategic partnerships have also been leveraged for knowledge transfer and for employees to be better equipped to be competitive, and to outperform. Employee career development remains a priority for the Group.

“Employees are consistently communicated to and kept abreast of the progress of our business plans,” says Ashok.

“They are recognised for outperforming, and are provided an environment to innovate and learn, also leveraging our strategic partners.”

Acknowledging the need for strong internal connectivity to be a financial solutions group for modern Malaysia, the Group remains committed to providing employees with the opportunity to build a successful and rewarding career with AmBank Group.


AmBank Group was awarded Bank of the Year in Malaysia 2013 by UK-based magazine The Banker, a monthly international financial affairs publication.

AmBank Group sees the award as a testament to its strong management, sound business model and prudent risk approach.

Group Managing Director Ashok Ramamurthy received the award in London in November 2013.

“We are honoured to be recognised by such an esteemed publication as The Banker,” he says.

“The award is due to the good progress we have made on executing a well articulated strategy and delivering consistent financial performance, being able to successfully integrate two acquisitions that are already making positive contributions, and striving to improve and break new grounds in a customer centric way.”

The Bank of the Year Awards is an annual awards event recognising the top financial institutions that have excelled in the global banking community.

Entrants were asked to provide comprehensive data on their earnings, assets and Tier-1 capital growth, and returns on equity.

The Banker’s editorial team also looked for evidence of innovation and standard-setting in local markets; from deploying new technology to boost efficiency or providing new services to customers, to expanding business lines, customer numbers and product portfolios in a sustainable and responsible manner.

The Group completed two acquisitions in the past 18 months – Kurnia Insurans (Malaysia) Bhd and MBF Cards (M’sia) Sdn Bhd. Both are on track to make positive contributions to the banking group as a whole.

In recent months, the focus of the bank has been building economies of scale from these acquisitions and cross-selling to the new customer base.


Five shared values underpin this new leg of AmBank Group’s journey, known as “P2ACE”. The Group defines them as values that they “need to embrace and be known for.”

“Our P2ACE values direct us in our undertaking of all of our business,” explains Ashok.

“As long as we understand and deliver against these values on a daily basis, we believe we are striving towards being better connected with all of our customers,” he adds.

PRINCIPLED: “Integrity and professionalism remain the thrust of all we do, and we take accountability for all our actions.”

PROACTIVE: “We approach every challenge positively, initiate change responsibly, and always anticipate the needs of all our colleagues, customers and our community.”

APPRECIATIVE: “We value and recognise everyone’s role and contribution, and always provide support to our customers and colleagues.”

CONNECTED: “We are connected in everything we do. We are part of an organisation that fosters teamwork and open communication.”

EVOLVING: “We strive to seek new and relevant ways of growing ourselves, our customers, our business and our community in a sustainable manner.”

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Lily Cheah is a former head of Enterprise at Leaderonomics. Prior to that role, she was editor of (Ldotcom) and also was part of a special projects team in Leaderonomics. She believes that small details play a big part in huge successes, including always explaining “why”. She is a senior leader in HR today.

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