Top lender Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) (1155) is open to collaborating with Turkey's Bank Asya in areas like trade finance but is not interested in taking up an equity stake, its chief said.
"It is not our intention at this moment to look at any equity investment in Turkey. Our focus remains in Southeast Asia and, South Asia to some extent," its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance forum.
Earlier on Monday, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had said that one of Turkey's leading banks, Bank Asya, was interested in working with Maybank and CIMB Bhd to develop Islamic banking in the republic.
Abdul Wahid said Maybank could work with Bank Asya in areas like trade finance given Turkey's sizeable economy.
"We are open to collaboration in terms of trade finance and products," he said, adding that the bank could help Malaysian companies do more investments and trade with Turkish entities.
Meanwhile, asked to comment on a recent report that banks were positioning themselves to increase average lending rates gradually for their long-term loans, Abdul Wahid said Maybank tends to adjust rates "based on competition".
According to the report, one of the first loan segments to be impacted would be mortgages.
"If we're able to get a sufficient number of mortgages at slightly higher pricing, obviously that's something which we will look at," he said.
He said Maybank's mortgage sales had improved this year.
"Last year, we had a decline in our housing loans but in this current financial year, with all the aggressive marketing which we've undertaken, we've seen a 7 per cent growth in our mortgages," he said.
As Maybank gets more loans, good growth and reaches "an optimal level", it will adjust its pricing accordingly, he said.
"Meaning that there could be a situation whereby we increase the mortgage slightly but bring down our SME (small and medium enterprise) loans, for example, or our corporate loans and so on," he remarked.
Malaysia still has one of the lowest mortgages in the region currently in terms of pricing, he said.