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BEST BANK: Public Bank
BEST M&A HOUSE: Aseambankers

Public Bank is the best bank in Malaysia by some distance and with the government seemingly bent on removing all other viable competitors save monolithic government-linked institutions, it might remain the only credible candidate for years to come.

That is not to take anything away from a bank that has recorded 39 years of uninterrupted profitability. In fiscal 2005 it returned record profits of $560 million on asset growth of more than 20%, a return on assets of 2% and a return on equity of 21.4%. Public Bank operates at an exceptionally low cost-income ratio of 36.7% and boasts the lowest non-performing loans of any bank in Malaysia, at 1.7%. Core capital is 11.4%.

Public Bank operates more than 250 branches across Malaysia and offers a full banking service. However, it is especially strong as a retail and consumer finance bank, consistently winning market share from competitors in mortgages, vehicle financing and retail/SME loans.

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