Its Head of East Malaysia Regional Centre, Mat Zaki Hamat, who disclosed this, however, said the amount is still very far from their target of RM800 million in total approved loans set for this year.
Nevertheless, Mat Zaki is confident that they will register more loan growth in both states this year because he sees a lot of potential, especially in Sabah, with the oil and gas industry development and so on.
"We are looking forward to a better year this year.
We always look forward to register more loan growthÉI can see Sabah has a lot of potential, so I am expecting more," he said.
Last year, the bank approved close to RM500 million in total loan amount. This was about RM150 million more than the total amount approved the year before (2013).
"In terms of loan growth, we registered 10 per cent growth last year.
This doubled the growth we registered in 2012," said Mat Zaki, who is also pleased that non-Bumiputera SMEs also have had a fair share in the approved loan amount.
"Because there has been a misconception on SME Bank, that we are only catering for the Bumiputera SMEs, which is not correctÉwe are actually open to all, Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera SMEs," he said.
"As long as their business is bankable, viable, they can apply from us," he added.
He also advised those intending to apply for loans from SME Bank to ensure all relevant documents of their respective business, particularly the financial records, are properly prepared to avoid delay in processing the application.
"This is the greatest challenge for us because most of the SMEs we have in Sabah do not have sufficient records prepared, particularly their financial records, when applying for a loan," he said, adding this causes unnecessary delay.
Mat Zaki said in terms of delinquency (bad repayment cases), it is still very manageable in Sabah.
"We always try our very best to help our borrowers to find solutions to any problem they are facing," he said.