CIMB to Close 60 Branches

CIMB Group is reported to be ready to close 60 of its branches across the Malaysia operation as part of cost cutting strategy.

All of the sixty branches, considered surplus to the company’s current operation, have been identified and would close shop some time in August this year. The move is expected to help the company to save up to RM60 million per year in expenditures.

It wasn’t said what would happen to the staff working with the affected branches, but the bank is looking at ways to redeploy them into other branches, perhaps taking up other roles and responsibilities. Up to this point, CIMB has denied any allegation that the company will be laying off people in the near future.

Last week, under what was called “Staff Rejuvenation Program”, CIMB encouraged 36,000 of its staff in Asia to go for prolonged unpaid leaves, which can be up to sixth months as the bank is buckling up to face tough economic crisis, which is yet to show signs of desired recovery.

CIMB is today Malaysia’s second largest financial group, and is fast catching up with its rival Maybank. From the look of things, it is quite likely the country will see CIMB to overtake Maybank in the next one to two years. As of March 2009, Maybank, with RM23.6 billion market value, led CIMB by just RM300 million, or just about 1% difference.

CIMB Urges Staff to go for Unpaid Leave

CIMB Group, one of Malaysia’s largest financial groups, has urged its staff to take long unpaid leave which can be up to 6 months as the company is embracing the worsening financial situation.

The program was introduced as “Staff Rejuvenation Program” and will begin on April 2009.

Regardless of the name, it is becoming apparent that more companies in Malaysia – big and small – will suffer from one of the worst’s financial downturns in the history of modern economy. It is likely that a few other banks would follow CIMB’s suit. While the country top leaders seem optimistic the country will continue recording positive growth, recession is looming in the horizon.

More than 35,000 of CIMB employees, covering not only Malaysia operation but as well as in Thailand and Indonesia will be affected with the latest offering of option. However, there is yet to be indication on how many of them would take up the offer.

According to the company’s chief, Datuk Nazir Razak, the initial response by the staff was good. He also refuted claims that the bank is preparing to lay off workers.

The bank becomes the earliest local corporation to have asked their employees to go for leave.

Few years ago, the story of deserving CIMB staff rewarded with bonuses up to 10 months of their salary was no stranger before but things could turn out very different this year.

CIMB Phishing Scam On the Loose

Scams come in all sort of forms.

The latest one involves online phishing scam targeted at CIMB online users (CIMB clicks).

The perpetrators claiming themselves from CIMB have been sending emails to possible victims and asking them to log on to their account.

Fake URLs were put up in the emails, sending the visitors to the scam site, which look similar to the original CIMB website.

By setting up phishing websites, victims who fall into their trick will blindly key in their username password, not knowing that their hard earned savings are to be taken right under their own nose. The next thing they know, they have an empty account balance.

Emails are sent randomly to email addresses, including those who do not own CIMB account. These emails are mostly likely harvested through illegal software, or bought from irresponsible parties selling info for quick gains.

Some of the emails reminded the customers to log on to their account on immediate basis for few reasons such as DOS attack, upgrade to new server or blocking of online account.

Be careful. Don’t fall for this scam.

Maybank is the Most Valuable Brand, Again

For the second year running, Maybank has again come up on top in the Malaysia’s Most Valuable Brand (MMVB) study for the year 2008.

2 other companies, also from the banking industry – Public Bank and CIMB – were named first and second runner up respectively.

The rest of the top 10 ranking were made up of Genting, Parkson, Celcom, Astro, Petronas, DiGi and Hong Leong Bank. The country’s largest job portal, JobStreet.com, continues to make its mark by making its first entry, up at the 19th position.

Public Bank maintained its second position last year, while the latter, CIMB, made significant improvement by climbing up from the 6th position in 2007 award. In the past year, CIMB has increased its brand value from RM4.3 billion to RM6.3 billion, an impressive jump of over 80% improvement.

Maxis, which was ranked third last year, did not feature in the latest list as the company was delisted from the Bursa Malaysia (the study only considers those which are publicly traded).

The most valuable brand study was commissioned collaboratively by the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (4As) and The Edge, with the leading brand consultancy firm, Interbrand, acting as the main executor.

As the name indicates, the study is made annually as an effort to measure and accord recognition to 30 Malaysia-born, public companies which created due awareness and strong branding exercise in the eyes of the public and the corporate world (Table: The Edge).