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Old Sep 6th 2017, 6:17 am   #1
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Default Banking in Penang

Hi all, there have been a few posts on this or similar themes in the last few years & I would appreciate an update from anyone with recent personal experience as we intend to decamp from Sydney to Penang in the new year.
I initially thought to go with one of the multi-nationals, HSBC or Citi, if only because they have branches in our departing city but I have read some truly awful reviews from would be-customers, which have been borne out by my own somewhat limited experiences with non-availability, non-return of phone calls, emails, etc. Although they may have involved overseas branches I am wondering whether there is an ingrained culture of non-service, apathy, ignorance & general rudeness in these organisations.
Your contributors on the whole give me some encouragement that this may not be the case in Penang/Malaysia.
Our requirements are fairly standard, being the usual retail facilities (cheque account, credit cards, etc), financial planning/wealth management & possibly loans (secured overdraft or similar). A good introduction, of course, is that we will be required to place the FD with a bank of our choice - I have heard that that gives us "preferred" status with HSBC, but exactly what that means I'm not sure.

What about local banks? Any recommendations or reservations?
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Old Sep 6th 2017, 10:39 am   #2
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

I have no experience with HSBC in Penang. I am using CIMB and am satisfied with them.
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Old Sep 6th 2017, 1:46 pm   #3
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

Forget about Citibank, they have no interest to do business with foreigners in MY. For example, even if you deposit millions in MYR, they will not give you a credit card. OCBC and many others samesame.

I cannot tell you a suitable alternative to CIMB (HSBC certainly is not), but Maybank is worth a try maybe. I am thinking about opening account there also (the old not all eggs in one basket rule).

By the way, CIMB is a Singapore bank.

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Old Sep 7th 2017, 6:23 am   #4
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

Quote:
Originally Posted by eCdD View Post
Forget about Citibank, they have no interest to do business with foreigners in MY. For example, even if you deposit millions in MYR, they will not give you a credit card. OCBC and many others samesame.

I cannot tell you a suitable alternative to CIMB (HSBC certainly is not), but Maybank is worth a try maybe. I am thinking about opening account there also (the old not all eggs in one basket rule).

By the way, CIMB is a Singapore bank.
Citibank did give us a credit card (Premier Miles) as we travel a fair bit. It's unlimited usage of Plaza Premium Lounges. It's similar to HSBC Global View like linking all your Citigold accounts if you are a Citigold member in one location.
https://www.citibank.com.my/english/...nge/index.html

Last edited by columbine; Sep 7th 2017 at 6:45 am.
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Old Sep 7th 2017, 6:27 am   #5
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

My son in Sabah uses Hong Leong - he seems quite happy with them - having moved from RHB. My wife and I also use HL and also Public Bank
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Old Sep 7th 2017, 3:43 pm   #6
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

When I first moved to Penang I registered my FD's and all of the MM2H Visa stuff with HSBC, but I was worried about the banking risk so decided to split my accounts between HSBC and CIMB.

I found CIMB to be far more helpful, useful and available than HSBC, they have more branches, more ATM's and more useful functionality (easy to use website, SMS notifications, SMS One-time-password, Mobile Phone TopUp's, etc.)

With hindsight I would probably have gone with CIMB as my primary bank, but I can't be bothered with the hassle of changing the visa related FD's at the moment.
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Old Sep 8th 2017, 7:38 am   #7
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

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Originally Posted by kingoflostfools View Post
but I can't be bothered with the hassle of changing the visa related FD's at the moment.
You don't need to worry about that any more. The Government does not allow you to move your MM2H FD from one bank to another.
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Old Sep 8th 2017, 7:43 am   #8
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

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Originally Posted by SushiFan View Post
You don't need to worry about that any more. The Government does not allow you to move your MM2H FD from one bank to another.
...err....Woohoo!...I guess...
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Old Sep 8th 2017, 11:33 am   #9
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinman View Post
Hi all, there have been a few posts on this or similar themes in the last few years & I would appreciate an update from anyone with recent personal experience as we intend to decamp from Sydney to Penang in the new year.
I initially thought to go with one of the multi-nationals, HSBC or Citi, if only because they have branches in our departing city but I have read some truly awful reviews from would be-customers, which have been borne out by my own somewhat limited experiences with non-availability, non-return of phone calls, emails, etc. Although they may have involved overseas branches I am wondering whether there is an ingrained culture of non-service, apathy, ignorance & general rudeness in these organisations.
Your contributors on the whole give me some encouragement that this may not be the case in Penang/Malaysia.
Our requirements are fairly standard, being the usual retail facilities (cheque account, credit cards, etc), financial planning/wealth management & possibly loans (secured overdraft or similar). A good introduction, of course, is that we will be required to place the FD with a bank of our choice - I have heard that that gives us "preferred" status with HSBC, but exactly what that means I'm not sure.

What about local banks? Any recommendations or reservations?
Hi Merlinman,

Like you I am from Sydney and did my MM2H FD in May in Penang. I utilised HSBC for a few reasons and had no issues with service or response (I am a premier customer in Australia). I phoned the Malaysian HSBC Premier number from Australia and booked a time in with a relationship manager in the George Town branch. Flew into Penang and was able to setup the FD and transfer funds from Australia all within 2 hours. That included getting a debit card as well as credit cards. While you can get higher FD rates than HSBC for me I use the Malaysian FD funds to keep my premier status (less than you need in Australia) and am able to have a fee free Malaysian and Australian credit card. Note that for excess funds in Malaysia I have been looking at using other banks who have higher rates but am striking the non return of phone calls etc etc.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 9:42 am   #10
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

Originally before moving out we tried to open an account with OCBC I think it was they wouldn't entertain it because I was 1) foreign and 2) not living here. On a subsequent trip tried again just for my wife with CIMB who just mentioned in passing why not have a joint account - none of the issues OCBC raised were even mentioned and we had the CIMB basic account in a day or so.

Just before coming out we opened another account with HSBC, the premier rules are less stringent here and it let us also open a premier account in the UK. Both HSBC and CIMB here I find to be fine, setting anything up like a FD, CC, investment product expect to lose 1/2 a day hanging around. We basically opened the HSBC solely for the money transfer between premier accounts although now transferwise is much cheaper option so that's never been used.

If I were to keep just one account it would be the CIMB but that's more a reflection on how useless HSBC in the UK are. Trying to open a business banking account was a nightmare and ultimately they refused because a potential client was in India. Santander OTOH was a painless process.
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Old Sep 11th 2017, 11:23 pm   #11
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Default Re: Banking in Penang

Thanks to all those contributors on this subject & for relating their experiences. I now have a better idea of which way to jump - I think. Clearly it very much depends on personal requirements (& how much bureaucracy you're prepared to put up with) in the end
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