Updating The Family Banking From 1905


13 Jan 2009 – Kwong Lee Mortgage&Remittance Co. to Kwong Lee Bank

1940 picture: in Chinese jeckets – LAM SoongKee (grandfather) and LAM JiChiew (granduncle) with their families in Singapore.

Wikipedia stated Mr Lam Ting Yeu (supposedly LAM TinYue, my father) as the founder of the Kwong Lee Mortgage & Remittance Company some years and it is incorrect and now (2017) it has been corrected and edited. Will be traveling to Sarawak after the Chinese New Year to learn more and hopefully to take some pictures. My granduncle, LAM JiChiew was the founder of the Kwong Lee Mortgage & Remittance Company in 1905, not LAM TinYue (2nd row 1st right sitting on a chair in a white suit), my father who was born in 1911.

Began its operations in 1905 in Kuching/KCH, Sarawak, under the name of Kwong Lee Mortgage & Remittance Company, it granted loans against the security of export commodities such as pepper, rubber and other indigenous products. It provided the services of remitting money of migrant Chinese to their families in South East China.

It opened branches in Sibu (1923) and Singapore (1926).

After the Depression on 26 Oct 1934, the company was converted into a public company under the name Kwong Lee Bank/KLB 廣利銀行

Branches opened in Sarikei (1937) and Binatang (1973).

Kwong Lee Bank Limited which was later changed to Kwong Lee Bank Berhad on 15 April 1966.

Edited&added with the 2above pix Wed7Apr2021: appreciations&thanks to SK for informing me that there were 2otherKLBanks in JB/Malaysia (where she worked in the 1980s) and another one in KL/Malaysia which I have no idea that they existed??

Sun16May2021: tkx to cousin KarenLimoh and of course google brought me to yr blog instantly and I saw that bank cheque …. my mum wld be able to verify that the logo was designed on our dining table by my father … I vaguely remembered that ….. ah memories are so powerful, we need to make more of them! 

I do like the logo designed by UncleJohn LIM RuKhoon (1934-2019) , quite ahead of his times and now I see where his only child&daughter cousin KarenLim got her designing skills from! Did not even know that there was a KLB logo, will need to talk to AuntieAnna Chan  to ask her for more info.
In May 1982, Kwong Lee Bank Berhad was acquired by the MUI Group, a corporate group controlled by Malaysian business tycoon Tan Sri Dato Khoo Kay Peng. Exiting shareholders include Overseas Chinese Banking Corp OCBC Bank (which acquired a stake in the bank in 1964) and members of the Lam family (relatives and descendants of the founder Lam JiChiew). Kwong Lee Bank Berhad was renamed Malayan United Bank Berhad on 2 February 1983. Subsequently it was renamed MUI Bank Bhd. Under the MUI banner the bank grew from 11 branches (including Singapore) to 35 branches.

On 3 January 1994, the Hong Leong Group Malaysia acquired MUI Bank Berhad through Hong Leong Credit Berhad and renamed it as Hong Leong Bank Berhad HLBB. The acquisition of MUI Bank Berhad by Hong Leong Group Malaysia (which is controlled by Malaysian business tycoon Quek LengChan) followed shortly after an aborted takeover attempt of the MUI Group by another Malaysian tycoon Tan Sri Dato Vincent Tan CheeYioun (through his vehicle Berjaya Corporation).

Thus Hong Leong Bank can claim that it started in 1905.


Bankers know that history is inflationary and that money is the last thing a wise man will hoard – Will Durant

13Dec2020: donated father’s LAM TinYue(1911-1996) old B/W photo albums (1920-1950s)+various original documents to SIN NationalLibraryBoard/NLB. Appreciations to MeiChenLEE&NLB-staff for taking care to preserve the LAM-Heritage for future generations who might have an interest – copyrights are still mine and NLB has been notified and they can be shared for research&educational purposes, NOT for monetary or for profit purposes.

Sun22May2022: tkx to these interesting copies from auntie LAM KeiChan (LAM JiChee’s branch), donated to NBL.

Found this old pix but have no clue which KLB branch or where or when???

Jalan KLB road in KCH donated by the family.

25 thoughts on “Updating The Family Banking From 1905

  1. may i know which one is MR Lam Ji Chiew?
    sitting on second row medium sitting wif white suit women??

  2. Thank you for your interest and for stopping by. 2nd row from left-right, 5th person is LAM Ji CHiew (darker jacket), my paternal granduncle sitting next to LAM Song Kee, my paternal grandfather who is sitting next to the lady in white, my paternal grandmother, CHAN Swee Ngor

  3. Hi Amy. I am Lam Kah Wai, son of Lam Shee Keen and grandson of Lam Kong Heng. My Grandpa told me bout Kwong Lee Bank story too.

    • Hi LAM Kah Wai, thanks for stopping by. Apologies that I do not have the full details of the family tree. Would appreciate to know which branch of the family tree you stem from and where are you located?

    • Hello Kah Wai, my sincere apologies but I am not familiar with the rest of my paternal grandfather’s siblings. I only have names for LAM SongKee’s & LAM JiChiew’s branches. Please ask your grandfather LAM KongHeng or your father LAM SheeKeen for the names for your branch and then we can join the family chart.

      I have also colour codes the different generations as it seems like many have not kept to the tradition with thee same generation names. Grandparents’ generation is RED, parents BLUE, yours and mine GREEN, my children ORANGE, my grandchildren PURPLE.

  4. Hi Amy,
    While visiting my sister in Singapore last week, I was delighted to discover in her old photo album a rare photo of my father’s shop, Lim Heng Teck Co., at No.4 Wharf Road, Sarikei. The photo must have been taken in the late 1930’s, and we can see from the rooftop signage that the shop at No.5 Wharf Road was then occupied by Kwong Lee Bank Ltd.
    When I was a kid in the early 50’s, most of the shop space at No.5 Wharf Road was taken up by Kwong Hup Hing Goldsmith while the Kwong Lee Bank still retained a small office at the rear corner of the shop. The manger in charge of the bank then was known to me as Ji Aw. He always dressesd himself like a British colonial officer with white shorts and knee high socks and often came over to our shop to chat with my father. Was Ji Aw related to the founder of Kwong Lee Bank, Lam Ji Chiew?
    I’ll send you a copy of the photo if you can give me your email address.

    • Hi there, this is the most exciting comment I have received. I would be very interested to see any pix or receive info you and your family can provide me. Will email you my contact. Thank you so much for writing.

    • Hi Shy, am not sure where you are hearing this from. Would appreciate to know. As far as I know LAM JIChiew, my granduncle was as much a muslim as I am! And anyone who knows me also know that our beliefs are kept within!

    • As mentioned, I do not know any members from your branch of the LAMs. Please ask your father or any of your other relatives for info and names for your branch. If you can build up your branch, we can try and connect the branches.

  5. dear Amy,
    I would like to inquire more rgds to your family history, it’s because that I am one the volunteers in an old folks home where we come across a 82years old uncle who shifted in from Klang and mentioned to us that his dad owns a bank in Sarawak..he is having memory lost lately and we wud like to try to look for his relatives..

  6. dear Amy,
    correction ya..he is actually 88years old.yesterday the old folks home chairman manage to gather some info from him , as he claim that he is the son of Mr.Lam Song Kee..we hope that you guys can be reunited..

  7. hi amy,
    correction ya..he is actually 88years old.yesterday the old folks home chairman manage to gather some info from him , as he claim that he is the son of Mr.Lam Song Kee..we hope that you guys can be reunited..

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