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17 February 2006

In celebration of the Lunar New Year for 2006, Baiduri Bank today hosted a Chinese New Year Dinner specifically for its customers and business partners based in Seria and Kuala Belait. More than 350 invited guests attended the dinner held at St Michael’s Parish Hall, Seria.

In his welcoming speech, Mr Pierre Imhof, General Manager of Baiduri Bank, highlighted some of the major achievements of Baiduri Bank Group in 2005. For example, Baiduri Bank is the first and only bank in Brunei to hold franchises for three global card brands, namely Visa, MasterCard and American Express. It is also the first and only bank to enter into a partnership with Western Union Financial Services, Inc., the worldwide leader in money transfer services.

In addition, Baiduri Bank is the first and only bank that operates a fully integrated Security Control Centre equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance systems, offering higher level of security and protection for its customers and staff. The year 2005 also saw Baiduri Bank rapidly expanding its offsite ATM network, bringing the total number of ATMs to 22. Efforts were also intensified in enhancing operational efficiency, service quality, as well as IT security, being the first bank in Brunei to introduce dual-factor authentication for its online banking services.

Commenting on the economic climate, Mr Imhof said, “We have observed in 2005 a number of positive changes in the financial environment in Brunei. Amongst others, financial standards and regulations have been elevated to be in line with the most advanced neighbouring countries. New regulations on credit cards, personal loans and strict monitoring of risks are now in place and effective.

“In such an environment, competition has become tougher and only the most dynamic and efficient organisations will remain profitable. And I am proud to confirm that Baiduri Bank Group has performed better in 2005 than in 2004 in all its business segments,” said Mr Imhof.

Looking ahead, Mr Imhof said Baiduri Bank expected to continue growing steadily through an increased market share in retail banking, most notably in the areas of wealth management and card business. The Bank also anticipates growth in its corporate banking business, fuelled by efforts in economic diversification and new infrastructure projects, which will spur the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in particular.

Addressing the guests from Seria and Kuala Belait, Mr Imhof added: “This year again, even more than last year, we will put special efforts to develop all activities in our Seria and KB branches. This is because we believe this region of Brunei offers great potential for growth with new developments in the oil and gas industry and other diversification projects.

“As you have been able to observe over the past few years, Baiduri Bank Group believes in a few simple principles: building a long term relationship with our clients; to know them better in order to serve them better; capitalizing on our in-depth knowledge of the local environment that only a local bank will have; and leveraging on the international expertise brought to us by our foreign shareholder, BNP Paribas, and also by our foreign business partners, all of them being first class financial institutions,” said Mr Imhof.

“And above all, we are committed to be always more creative, more innovative and professional in order to constantly bring to Bruneians the best banking products and services.”

To further support the development of Chinese communities in the vicinity of Seria and Kuala Belait, Baiduri Bank also provided financial assistance for underprivileged students from Chung Hwa School, Labi and Chung Hwa School, Kiudang respectively. The donations were presented by Mr Pierre Imhof to Mr Bong Teck Min, Committee Member of Chung Hwa School, Labi and Mdm Ngo Leh Ting, a teacher at Chung Hwa School, Kiudang.

A series of entertaining programmes were lined-up for the evening. The guests were enthralled by the lively stand-up comedy routines by Selena Tan and Hossan Leong, well-known in Singapore for their individual stage performances and appearances in films and televisions, including Under One Roof and I Not Stupid.

Equally captivating was the song and dance performances by Dona D, a versatile songstress who charmed the audience with her great sense of humour and repertoire of songs in different dialects and languages.

A similar function will also be held in Songket Ballroom, The Rizqun International Hotel, The Mall, on 18 February 2006, for the bank’s customers and business associates based in Brunei-Muara and Tutong districts.

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