Corporate History

Bian Chiang Bank established in Kuching.
Founded by Wee Kheng Chiang, the bank’s early activities centred around business financing and the issuance of bills of exchange. The prominent Wee family later founded Singapore’s United Overseas Bank in 1971.

Ban Hin Lee Bank (BHLB) established in Penang.
Founded by “Towkay” Yeap Chor Ee, BHLB originally focused on the trading and merchanting activities of local businessmen. In the 1960’s, it branched into real estate and home financing. By the 1990s, the Penang-based bank had become a modern and thriving financial institution in Malaysia and Singapore. BHLB was listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) on 7 January 1991.

Southern Bank Berhad (SBB) founded as Southern Banking Ltd.
SBB’s quick expansion from Penang to other parts of the country led to the setting up of its Kuala Lumpur operations in 1978. An important player in wealth management products, credit cards and SME lending, the bank was the first in Malaysia to set up the MEPS ATM system used country-wide today.

Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad (BBMB).
Established in line with government initiatives to increase Bumiputra participation in the national economy, BBMB grew to become the largest Malaysian bank in terms of assets and was the first domestic bank to have operations in New York, London, Tokyo, Bahrain and Hong Kong. Its country-wide presence, including in rural areas, provided banking facilities to small-scale enterprises and investment in rural areas contributing to their growth.

United Asian Bank Berhad (UAB) established in Kuala Lumpur as a result of the merger of three banks: Indian Overseas Bank Ltd, Indian Bank Ltd and United Commercial Bank Ltd.
UAB started as a joint venture in banking between Malaysia and India, taking over the operations of the Malaysian branches of the Indian banks in 1972. Serving mainly small businesses and individuals, UAB established a reputation for encouraging enterprise among the less prosperous sections of the community.

Pertanian Baring Sanwa Multinational Berhad (PBS) established.

PBS was founded by Bank Pertanian, Baring Brothers of United Kingdom, Sanwa Bank of Japan and Multinational Bank of the United Kingdom. Under the management of Baring Brothers, it provided corporate advisory and funding services to multinationals, and undertook corporate restructuring and merger and acquisition activities for Malaysian companies. Practising a conservative and prudent approach, with a strict credit culture that limited its trading activities, the merchant bank remained relatively small compared to others.

Bian Chiang Bank renamed Bank of Commerce Berhad (BOC).

The purchase of Bian Chiang Bank by the Fleet Group in 1979 led to the formation of BOC. A strong focus on systems and transparency, reflecting the management style of co-shareholder JP Morgan, and an aggressive, performance-driven work culture contributed to its emergence as one of the most progressive banks in the industry. By 1982, the bank which had started as an RM8 million one-branch entity had become an institution with total assets of RM367 million and total shareholders’ funds of RM12.8 million.

PBS renamed Commerce International Merchant Bankers Berhad (Commerce International).

In 1986, BOC replaced Bank Pertanian as the controlling shareholder of PBS, resulting in its name change to Commerce International. Its focus on corporate finance and IPOs was retained. In 1989, Commerce International emerged as Malaysia’s top adviser for new listings. The addition of stockbroking to complement its advisory and listing expertise gave it an award-winning reputation as an equities broker and IPO house, and led to high profits during the early 1990s equities “bull run”.

Commerce International’s strategic decision to build its capabilities in the fixed income segment in anticipation of future market opportunities placed it in an excellent position to benefit from the exponential bond market growth in the late 1990s.

BOC merged with UAB and the new entity named Bank of Commerce (M) Berhad (BOCM). BOC, the listed holding company, was renamed Commerce- Asset Holding Berhad (CAHB).
The acquisition of UAB by BOC marked the start of its significant expansion. With the acquisition, the BOCM branch network increased almost fourfold, complementing its established reputation in the corporate lending market.

BBMB and BOCM merged to form Bumiputra-Commerce Bank (BCB) under CAHB.
In 1999, BBMB emerged from the Asian financial crisis to merge with the BOCM, resulting in the biggest merger in Malaysia’s banking history. BCB became the bank of choice of many multinational and local corporations, government organisations and individual Malaysians.

SBB acquired BHLB along with United Merchant Finance Berhad (renamed Southern Finance Berhad), Perdana Finance Berhad and Cempaka Finance Berhad.
As part of the government’s banking consolidation initiative, SBB and BHLB merged and absorbed two small finance companies, Perdana Finance Berhad and Cempaka Finance Berhad.

CIMB Berhad listed on the Main Board of the KLSE.
CIMB Berhad’s KLSE listing exceeded the expectations of investors and employees alike. Although CIMB Berhad’s listing lasted only 3 years, it delivered returns of 340% to its shareholders.

CIMB Islamic launched.
Officially launched by Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz in June 2003, CIMB Islamic has since won numerous accolades for its innovative Shariah-compliant solutions. In April 2005, Commerce-Tijari Bank Berhad was launched as the Islamic banking subsidiary of BCB.

CIMB Berhad acquired 70% of Commerce Trust Berhad (CTB) and Commerce Asset Fund Managers Sdn Bhd (CAFM) from BCHB.
The formation of CIMB-Principal, a joint venture with the Principal Financial Group of USA, marked the entry of a new player to Malaysia’s burgeoning asset management sector. CTB and CAFM subsequently merged to become CIMB Principal Asset Management Berhad (CIMB-Principal).

CIMB Berhad acquired G. K. Goh Securities Pte Ltd’s stockbroking businesses.
The acquisition of Singapore-based G. K. Goh - a reputable pan-Asian stockbroking franchise with presence in Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong, London and the United States - led to the formation of CIMB-GK, CIMB Berhad’s international investment banking arm.

CIMB Berhad announced acquisition of BCB Group from CAHB.
The strategic decision by CAHB to create a universal bank by combining its commercial and investment banks led to the acquisition of BCB Group by CIMB Berhad. CIMB Berhad was in turn de-listed from Bursa Malaysia. CAHB was renamed Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Berhad (BCHB).

BCHB acquired SBB.
The acquisition of SBB added valued niche consumer banking segments to the CIMB Group. The merger combined BCB’s extensive resources and reach with SBB’s expertise and agility.

Launch of CIMB Group as a Regional Universal Bank.
The new CIMB Group was launched by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi in September 2006, signifying the culmination of the 3-way merger of Commerce International, BCB and SBB to form a universal banking group. As a universal bank, CIMB Group has the full range of banking and financial services - conventional and Islamic - to serve everyone from the smallest retail client to the largest companies and institutions.

In line with its vision “To be Southeast Asia’s Most Valued Universal Bank”, the Group embarked on a rebranding exercise and unveiled its new logo and new tagline “Forward Banking”, reflecting its promise to create value for customers through forward thinking.

CIMB-GK Securities (Thailand) Ltd and CIMB-GK Securities (USA) Inc.
CIMB Group launched its flagship presence in both Thailand and USA, adding on to the Group’s already strong investment banking, stockbroking and institutional sales franchise in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok and Hong Kong.

CIMB Foundation launched.
CIMB Foundation is a non-for-profit organisation that will carry out the Group’s corporate social responsibility and philanthropic initiatives, focusing on sustainable programmes in community development, sports and education. In support of its commitment, CIMB Group has pledged an initial sum of RM100 million to CIMB Foundation over 3 years.

Strategic investment in the Bank of Yingkou, China.
CIMB Group entered into an agreement for a 19.99% stake in the Bank of Yingkou, adding mainland China to the Group’s network which comprises Southeast Asia and global financial centres and large economies which have strong economic, trade and investment linkages with Southeast Asia.

Merger of PT Bank Niaga Tbk & PT Bank Lippo Tbk.
CIMB Group undertook the merger of PT Bank Niaga Tbk with PT Bank Lippo Tbk to create the 6th largest bank in Indonesia. This was an initiative of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, CIMB Group and the banks’ ultimate shareholder, to comply with Bank Indonesia’s Single Presence Policy (SPP), and marked the first major consolidation of private banks under the SPP. The merged bank has been rebranded as “CIMB Niaga”.

CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Launched.
CIMB Group and the Principal Financial Group strengthened their partnership with the launch of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management. The 50:50 joint venture serves as global Shariah funds management arm of both entities, and is located in Kuala Lumpur to leverage on the infrastructure of the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre.

Acquisition of BankThai.
CIMB Group entered into an agreement with the Financial Institutions Development Fund to purchase a 42.13% stake in BankThai Public Company Limited. The Group’s ensuing tender offer for the remaining shares in BankThai, and a rights issue, resulted in the stake increasing to 93%. The acquisition of BankThai completes CIMB Group’s universal banking platform across major Southeast Asian markets – Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand – and makes the Group’s retail network the largest in Southeast Asia with 1,150 branches.