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Kuala Lumpur - Banking

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There are many banks in Kuala Lumpur to choose from. Local banks with a large presence (and number of branches) are CIMB Bank Berhad, (merged Bumiputra-Commerce Bank and Southern Bank Berhad) and Malayan Banking Berhad(Maybank). RHB bank is a bank based in KL, and specializes in international, commercial and corporate banking. The number of international banks offering consumer services is constantly increasing, but the number of branches and ATMs can be limited to certain areas. For a complete listing of licensed banking institutions in Malaysia, refer to the list provided by the Central Bank of Malaysia ("Bank Negara Malaysia") available at www.bnm.gov.my. There is a useful website on Banking in Malaysia that is maintained by the Central Bank of Malaysia, and provides information on basic information on banking services in Malaysia, and specialized services such as Islamic banking. For clarifications on foreign currency banking, refer to the Central Bank's FAQ at www.bnm.gov.my.

Banking hours are from 10am to 430pm on weekdays. Some banks are open on Saturdays, different banks have different variations to this schedule. Many banks offer online banking as a means to avoid long queues at the banks, and such services are popular with expatriates, especially those who wish to have flexible access to their bank accounts. For example, international bank HSBC may not have a strong physical presence in KL, but their internet banking services are highly recommended by expatriates. Other automated banking services, such as phone banking and PC banking, are available at some bank branches.

Banks in Malaysia offer both savings and current accounts, but each bank may have slightly different requirements to open a bank account. In general, however, to open an account, expatriates (non-residents) must have a valid work permit (valid for at least one year). Foreigners on tourist visas, for example, are not likely to be able to open bank accounts in Malaysia. In most cases, banks will ask for a reference (usually a letter from your employer confirming your employment with that particular company). When opening an account, if you qualify for a premier bank account, do consider applying for it. Premier banking services (usually reserved for bank customers with a minimum deposit) means faster and better service.

The Stock Exchange of Kuala Lumpur is known as Bursa Malaysia. There are two indices: the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) and the FTSE Bursa Malaysia Index.

Credit Cards are widely used and accepted. Many local banks offer credit facilities.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is low, compared to the level of infrastructure and access to facilities available in other Asian cities.

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