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Standard Chartered Bank, George Town, Penang

The Standard Chartered Bank Building at Beach Street, George Town has been occupied since its inception by the first bank to set up a branch in the city.

The Standard Chartered Bank Building at Beach Street within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site was completed in 1930 and has been occupied by the Standard Chartered Bank throughout its history. The British bank is one of the world's most international banks, with over 1,200 branches in 71 countries.

Standard Chartered, formerly the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, was the first bank to be established on Penang Island when it set up its branch at Beach Street in 1875. The branch at Beach Street, George Town was the second oldest bank branch in British Malaya, preceded only by the bank's Singapore branch which was opened in 1859.

Between 1875 and 1930, the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China was moved along Beach Street twice. The second and final time the bank was relocated was into its current building in 1930. The imposing granite building combines elements of Palladian, Classical and Art Deco architectural styles.

History

Beach Street, George Town, Penang

The Standard Chartered Bank Building is situated near the northern end of Beach Street. The Jubilee Clock Tower can be seen at the end of the street in the background.

The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China became the first bank to set up a branch in George Town, when its branch at 33 Beach Street was opened in 1875. The bank had opened a branch in Singapore in 1859, making the George Town branch the second oldest in British Malaya and the oldest bank branch in Malaysia.

The bank traded at 33 Beach Street until the late 1890s, when it moved into a two-storey building at 11 Beach Street.

Prior to the construction of the current Standard Chartered Bank Building, the land on which it stands was occupied by a part of the Central Police Station, which was centred inside the current State Assembly Building. The part of the police station was torn down in 1925 to make way for the construction of the Standard Chartered Bank Building. Designed by John McNeill and Charles Geoffrey Boutcher of Stark and McNeill, it was built by contractors Chin Ah Chin and Yong Ah Shing between 1926 and 1930; construction difficulties delayed its opening until 1930.

Downing Street, George Town, Penang

The Standard Chartered Bank Building as seen from Downing Street

At the time of its completion, the four-storey granite building was one of the tallest on Penang Island. It combines Palladian, Classical and Art Deco architectural styles, and its extensive use of granite reinforced the bank's reliable and solid reputation.

Along with its bitter rival, the nearby Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China issued standard Malayan dollar notes.

Over the decades, offices in the upper floors of the building proved popular and have been occupied by several important firms. Currently, Presgrave & Matthews, one of Penang's oldest legal firms, and the accountancy firm, Kennedy, Burkill & Company, maintain their offices within the upper floors of the building.

In 1969, the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China merged with the Standard Bank of British South Africa, forming the Standard Chartered Bank. The London-based bank is now one of the world's most international banks, with over 1,200 branches worldwide.

Opening Hours

Counter Services : 0915 hours - 1545 hours, Monday - Friday

Other Services :

0915 hours - 1700 hours, Monday - Thursday

0915 hours - 1600 hours on Friday

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.26 Padang Kota State Assemblyman : Chow Kon Yeow (Democratic Action Party)

Malaysian Federal Parliament

P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)

References

  1. Hockton, K., Howard Tan, 2012. Penang : An Inside Guide to Its Historic Homes, Buildings, Monuments and Parks. MPH Group, Kuala Lumpur.
  2. Langdon, M. A Guide to George Town's Historic Commercial and Civic Precints. Penang : George Town World Heritage Incorporated.
  3. http://www.penang-traveltips.com/standard-chartered-building.htm
  4. https://www.sc.com/en/

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