Thursday, 7 December 2023

Tan Kong Khoon guided transformation of HLFG into a leader of digital and sustainable finance in Malaysia

5 min read

By Genivi Factao

Tan Kong Khoon was awarded Best CEO while Hong Leong Financial Group (HLFG) was recognised as Best Managed Bank in Malaysia for steering the bank’s digital transformation and for preparing the group for the transition to a green and sustainable future.

The Leadership Achievement Award for Best CEO is conferred every three years to ensure that heads of banks in each country can be reviewed over a meaningful period of time. Bank CEOs are assessed based on a rigorous and transparent set of evaluation criteria and the winner is selected by an international council of advisors from among a shortlist of peers in each country.

The council of advisors for The Asian Banker Leadership Achievement programme lauded the outstanding leadership of HLFG’s president and CEO, Tan Kong Khoon in digitalising the bank, strengthening its financial condition, and moving towards environment, social and governance (ESG) investing.

Under Khoon’s leadership, HLFG was adjudged Best Managed Bank in Malaysia. HLFG has made “digital at the core” a key strategic driver across all operating businesses. Hong Leong Bank (HLB) introduced a new generation of digital offerings that were designed and calibrated to meet customers’ needs for seamless and frictionless digital banking experience.

He took advantage of the use of technology and as a result, more than 90% of all banking transactions are conducted over digital channels and 67% of the mobile banking customers are active users. Business customers have shifted to internet banking and the bank saw extensive growth in monthly transactions of its upgraded HLB Connect Mobile App and HLB Connect website.

The bank’s digital transformation that was put in place enabled business resiliency and growth even under the most extreme situations. Khoon led the group’s mortgage market share to reach more than 10% and credit card and auto loan market share of 8%. The group grew its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) community banking portfolio by more than 20%, amid the pandemic.

Despite the challenges, HKFG sustained its growth trajectory with all key capital, liquidity and credit metrics remaining sound. HLFG Group‘s net profit attributable to shareholders reached $552.49 million (MYR 2.3 billion), as of 30 June 2021, which is higher by 21.9%, as compared to the preceding financial year. Its return on equity (ROE) of 10.4% was higher in 2021 than the 9.3%, recorded in the previous fiscal year.

As CEO, he put in place an environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework across all the financial group’s operating companies and incorporate ESG considerations in the credit and investment evaluation of SME and corporate customers.

He led the group to meet globally recognised standards for inclusion in the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia Index, which is designed to measure the performance of companies demonstrating good ESG practices. 

He made significant moves to enable the group’s commercial banking division to provide various payment relief assistance programmes. The personal financial services (PFS) approved applications valued at over $3.4 billion (MYR 15 billion) and assisted around 96,000 customers. SME banking facilitated $408.6 million (MYR 1.8 billion) under the various government stimulus packages and another $544.8 million (MYR 2.4 billion) under its own self-funded relief programmes.

The group has ensured the safety, health and well-being of the workforce during the pandemic while business operations continue. He made sure that the system was in place for health and safety procedures. The bank has enhanced its digital tools to enable remote working arrangements and provide on-site testing and vaccination at headquarters building.


For details about evaluation criteria and council of advisors of the Leadership Achievement Award programme, visit

To view the photo gallery of the Leadership Achievement Award ceremony, visit

Institution: Hong Leong Financial Group
Country: Malaysia
Region: Southeast Asia
Guest: Tan Kong Khoon
Leave your Comments
Recent Comments