“The ongoing moratorium option for customers will reduce our profits. All banks have given about RM5.7bil of loans moratorium. We are sacrificing for our customers, ” chairman Datuk Abd Rani Lebai Jaafar said at a briefing. PETALING JAYA: Bank Rakyat reiterated that it is still in a “strong position” despite the Covid-19 pandemic expected to have an impact on its profits this year. The Islamic cooperative bank may see its dividends lessened this year on the challenging outlook. “The ongoing moratorium option for customers will reduce our profits. All banks have given about RM5.7bil of loans moratorium. We are sacrificing for our customers, ” chairman Datuk Abd Rani Lebai Jaafar said at a briefing. The bank launched its new vision and mission yesterday. Abd Rani noted that the pandemic is an unprecedented event. “We have been declaring double-digit dividends in the past 21 years. While we have been affected, we are on the right track. We hope to declare dividends this year too, ” he said. “There are processes on how much dividends are declared. The board of Bank Rakyat has to evaluate and agree on the dividend quantum first. “After that, it will be presented to the ministry and other government machinery to be evaluated, ” said Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. On whether Bank Rakyat need to issue more shares, Abd Rani said the bank is in a strong position but if the need arises, it would go through the necessary process. “The question is whether we need the additional capital? We now have RM17bil in reserves while our paid-up capital is 23%. We are very strong but if it is needed, we will issue the additional shares, ” he said. Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said there are still businesses in the country that are unable to operate as usual due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The effects of the conditional movement control order has seen the country losing RM2bil to RM2.4bil a day, according to Bank Negara, ” Wan Junaidi said in his speech. “Some businesses are still unable to operate despite parts of the economy being allowed to reopen and there are some people who have lost their jobs, ” he added. Due to this, Wan Junaidi said, it is important for government agencies and banks to understand the issues being faced by this group of people and business. “They have to act quickly to protect the groups that are still affected by the pandemic, more so the bottom 40% (B40) of the society, ” he said.
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