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18 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 Brunei-Muara and Tutong districts. More than 900 invited guests attended the dinner held at Songket Ballroom, The Rizqun International Hotel, The Mall.

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.

“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,” added 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 local communities, Baiduri Bank also provided financial assistance for underprivileged students from Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB, St. George’s School and St. Andrew’s School respectively. The donations were presented by Mr Pierre Imhof to Mdm Kho Guik Lan, Principal of Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB, Mr Gerald Sim, Principal of St. George’s School and Mr Jacob Chin, Principal of St. Andrew’s School.

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 television, 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. To heighten the festive atmosphere, a Lion Dance troupe and a group of young children from Chung Hwa Middle School, BSB, also presented spectacular performances at the event.

A similar function was held yesterday (17 February 2006) at St. Michael’s Parish Hall, Seria, for the Bank’s customers and business associates based in Seria and Kuala Belait.

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