It was a pity that Ban Hin Lee Bank ceased in exist when it was taken over by Southern Bank in 2001. What was supposed to be a merger of two equal partners when Ban Hin Lee and Southern began talking to one another in the 1990s was dealt a mortal blow when Bank Negara Malaysia, in its infinite wisdom, declared Ban Hin Lee Bank to be the junior partner in the merger process. As a result, Ban Hin Lee lost out in everything and the bank ceased to exist as an entity after July 2001.
But the culture and philosophy of Ban Hin Lee Bank remained steadfastly ingrained in its ex-employees. Though they might have been absorbed into the enlarged Southern Bank entity or they left to pursue other careers elsewhere, the former BHLB employees carried with them the credo of everything that Ban Hin Lee stood for: maintaining excellent work ethics and high professionalism in whatever they do.
Above all, the former employees of BHLB never forgot how the staff had always gelled together as a team whether at work or at play. We had the Senior Management team to thank for this because they instilled in us the importance of team work which carried through to our recreational activities. For instance, I remember how the BHLB Recreation Club had constantly drawn up varied activities for us: organising outings or sports events that played a big role in bringing the staff together. By and large, we understood one another.
So even though BHLBank had ceased to exist for 14 years already, the good memories of having worked in this banking institution are still there. I am not alone in this. Throughout the country, we have countless other ex-BHLB staff who must obviously feel the same way too. Why I say this: just last Saturday (8 Aug 2015) we had 200 or so of the former Ban Hin Lee Bank staff come together for a reunion dinner to celebrate what would have been the bank's 80th anniversary, as though the bank was still around.
[There would have been more significance if the organisers had chosen the 17th of September for this reunion because this date in 1935 was the date when Ban Hin Lee Bank sprang into life. But let's not quibble about this little detail, shall we?]
I've had people who were astounded two years ago when I told them that we still had reunions after 12 years. Last weekend in 2015, 14 years after 2001, we came together again. And this time, we attended the reunion with an even greater enthusiasm because of the good feelings of the 80th anniversary behind it. Unfortunately, those ex-staff who missed out on the event would have really missed out on a great opportunity to catch up with old friends first and former colleagues second. We were the greatest bunch of people that we had ever worked with, that's all I have to say.
The Ban Hin Lee Bank family
Choosing our door gifts at the Registration counter
Former BHLB CEO Dato' Seri Goh Eng Toon and former Assistant General Manager Tan Kuan Hai
Former General Manager Neoh Choo Kean