KUALA LUMPUR: Two of Malaysia’s largest financial institutions, CIMB Group and RHB Capital, said they plan to merge along with a property lending firm to create a “financial powerhouse” that will become the country’s biggest bank.

The three institutions are seeking central bank approval for the merger, according to documents submitted on Thursday with Malaysia’s stock exchange, and aim to sign a definitive agreement early next year.

CIMB and RHB Capital — the second- and fourth-largest banks, respectively — and the Malaysia Building Society announced in July they were in early talks on creating an entity with total assets estimated at around 614 billion ringgit ($189bn).

That would top current leader Maybank, which had total assets of about 578bn ringgit as of July.

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