Entrepreneur Banker, Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow, 92, of Public Bank passed away on 12 Dec 2022

December 17, 2022


A formidable entrepreneur banker, Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow, 92, founded Public Bank Berhad in 1966 with a team from Malayan Banking Berhad (MBB). 6 years earlier (1960) he was part of a small group which helped set up MBB. He rose fast to General Manager. The seed of his dream to own his own bank was planted. 

He was only 35 when he started Public Bank. It opened for business on 6 August 1966 at No. 4 Jalan Gereja, Kuala Lumpur.  Tan Sri Teh's first taste of banking was as a teller in OCBC. There he discovered banking was all he wanted to do. 

Public Bank has made money for its shareholders for the last 5 decades. It is rare for a bank to have an unbroken profit record for over 50 years. In FYE 31 December 2021 Public Bank achieved RM7.37 billion in pre-tax profit and RM5.66 billion net profit attributable to shareholders. Its shares have minted millionaires of many who held on to the bank's shares since it was listed. Tan Sri Teh himself is now worth US$5.6 billion as at 28 Nov 2022 (Forbes). Public Bank is the 3rd largest bank in Malaysia by total assets (Rm462.74 billion). It has 443 branches across 7 countries.

In 2007, Public Bank produced a book titled "Teh Hong Piow: A Banking Thoroughbred" penned by Datuk Paddy Bowie. In it he revealed his father's early struggles and the death of his mother when he was 6. A young Chinese man growing up in poverty was common in Malaya then and it has made many vow never to be poor again. Tan Sri Teh understood the common people's aspirations and as a banker he met that need. Public Bank targets the man in the street and SMEs. The results have been spectacular. 

Tan Sri Teh retired as Chairman of Public Bank on 31 December 2018 and was conferred the position of Chairman Emeritus and Adviser of the bank on 1 Jan 2019. None of his children are on the board of Public Bank. He made it clear from the start that his children should not be involved in the bank's management.


  1. Public Bank Berhad. 2021 Annual Report. https://disclosure.bursamalaysia.com/FileAccess/apbursaweb/download?id=215480&name=EA_DS_ATTACHMENTS
  2. New Straits Times. 12 December 2022. Farah Adilla. https://www.nst.com.my/business/2022/12/860129/public-bank-founder-teh-hong-piow-dies-92
  3. Public Bank Media Release. 12 December 2022. https://www.publicbankgroup.com/news-announcements/press-release
  4. Bowie, Datuk Paddy. Teh Hong Piow - A Banking Thoroughbred. Published 2006 by Public Bank Berhad.