Lim Kee Yeong: Flying high during difficult times

Updated: Mar 23

INTERVIEW: Affin Bank’s executive director of Enterprise Banking, Lim Kee Yeong, says the pandemic has shaken the banking business to its core. But the adaptable, agile, and people-focused are now advancing their careers.

He is a banker whose other interests include a deeper appreciation of planes as well as building and designing homes. But even if he is not cruising the skies or creating artsy home interiors, Lim Kee Yeong, Affin Bank’s Executive Director of Enterprise Banking, has landed a career that he enjoys.

Helping his staff grow will always be at his core, he tells Chief of Staff Asia, before reeling off a host of staff support initiatives that Affin Bank has put in place during the unprecedented upheaval surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. And while that massive disruption may be a game-changer in the banking space across Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region, it is also highlighting the value of strong teamwork and leadership in businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Lim says adaptability and agility have become the new character traits that are helping staff to thrive in this period. He says his daily goals are all about helping those team members to continue to achieve great things for themselves and their organisation, even as the landscape continues to change.

“With the little runway I have left in my career, I would like to continue my career growth, and hopefully, one day, give more stories from here on,” he says.

Looking after the workforce

COS Asia: Banks is an essential service but disruptions during the movement restrictions in Malaysia were still inevitable. When it comes to looking after your employees, what forms of support has Affin Bank extended to them during this time?

Lim: Financially, the Bank provides various assistance programs to affected staff including payment relief where merited in line with what is regulatorily allowed. Staff have been encouraged to approach our People Office for help.

Working from home has been arranged with all the necessary equipment and tools. Any suspected Covid-19 cases will be given due medical attention, including an immediate swab test and contact tracing. Other areas of work enhancements include training sessions, where staff can better understand and appreciate the situation when handling customers or giving feedback.

The Bank has also been among the pioneers of a staff vaccination program that rolled out alongside the nationwide government program. Additional off-days are also provided due to the side effects upon vaccination. All frontliners are required to do rapid tests regularly and must be fully vaccinated, ensuring personal and customer safety.

The availability of help and proactiveness of the Bank in ensuring safety and care is something it has done very well. Few fell ill during the pandemic, and the bank was very quick to act upon receiving such information. Ensuring staff feel safe to work and customers are informed of our initiatives makes a difference.

COS Asia: Can you also share about Affin Bank’s support to the business community in Malaysia?

Lim: Affin Bank has been positively active in supporting the business community. We offer payment relief assistance in line with government and regulatory initiatives. The bank also offers its Financial Assistance and Instalment Relief (FAIR) scheme involving customisable tenure extension and step-up payment arrangements.

From a non-financial perspective, the Bank is very active in online and offline activities, either as the host, moderator, co-organiser or sponsor. These webinars, hybrid conferences, and business matching sessions are meant to provide businesses with information, ideas, and experiences on how to maneuver during the pandemic and emerge stronger.

On the digital front, the Bank works with business partners through our multiple award-winning mobile application, SME Colony. It provides offerings, information, and webinars for the business community to learn, connect and enhance commercial knowledge on weathering the pandemic.

The International Finance Corporation recognised SME Colony at the Global SME Finance Awards 2021 as at the forefront of innovation. Staying true to our tagline — Always About You — the bank will continue to assist the business community, as well as be proactive in contacting customers for assistance.

COS Asia: Do you see a major shift in the way the business will be done in the “new normal”?

Lim: Yes, it has changed. Digital and virtual communications have become a norm and are likely to remain so. It is also not as easy to meet customers now, despite increasing efforts. Some customers have also requested some flexibility and means to meet up, discuss, and engage. As bankers, we will do our best in accommodating our customers, hence the shift in modus operandi.

This feature was extracted from Chief of Staff Asia's exclusive interview with Lim Kee Yeong, Executive Director for Enterprise Banking with Affin Bank in Malaysia. For further coverage please see any of the below links:

Lim Kee Yeong: Flying high during difficult times

Affin Bank Malaysia: Exercising management with care

Lim Kee Yeong: Life lessons from the banking world

Getting to know: Lim Kee Yeong, Affinbank's executive director of Enterprise Banking (March 24, 2022)

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