More than four decades back the Development bank of Singapore (DBS) started its journey with the sole purpose of creating a new benchmark in the financial services sector of Singapore. 200 branches and 15 markets later, it has become a force to reckon with, not to forget being the undisputed market leader in Singapore with a customer base of over 4 million and growing. Headquartered and listed in Singapore, DBS is also continuing its growth trajectory in three potent markets of Greater China, South East Asia and South Asia. The Global Finance’s “Safest Bank in Asia” award for five consecutive years, from 2009 to 2013 throws light on its strong capital position and superior credit worthiness in the entire Asia Pacific region.
Blaze to brilliance
Established in 1968, DBS was one of the harbingers of Singapore’s economic development during the nation’s formative years of independence. Ever since, as a successful financial services institution, DBS has an extensive portfolio of innovative products and solutions to satisfy its growing base of customers.
Having present in 15 markets, its regional network spans across 200 branches with over 1,100 ATMs covering 50 cities. Despite its substantial presence, in key growth markets across Asia, DBS does its primary operations from Singapore and Hong Kong, two of Asia’s wellregulated markets. In 2011, the contribution of these two markets towards its net profit was 62% and 19% respectively.
In the domestic market, the bank has two brands—DBS and POSB (Post Office Savings bank). These two brands are present across 80 branches with more than 1,100 ATMS at various locations in Singapore. It also has a significant market share in mortgage and unsecured loans like credit cards in Singapore. The Hong Kong division of DBS has an extensive network of over 50 branches and 70 ATMs.
In an attempt to promote inclusive growth, DBS has played an integral part in mobilizing the growth of Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. Not content in the home front alone, it also leads the market share in SME banking space in categories like equipment and trade finance in Hong Kong as well. Its exhaustive product origination and risk management capabilities have made it a pioneer in the capital markets in many aspects. In 2003 DBS launched Singapore’s first real estate investment trust (REIT) and acted as the catalyst for meeting the growing demand of such funds in the region. While safeguarding the interests of institutional investors, it never fails to improvise on individual needs of wealth management products. As a leader in treasury operations, DBS is present in crucial financial capabilities like foreign exchange and derivatives, money market and securities trading to corporations and financial institutions. The bank has its eyes set in fast developing markets as well. In India DBS have 12 branches in major metros like Delhi and Mumbai. In Indonesia through its 99% owned subsidiary PT Bank DBS Indonesia, the bank is on an expansion spree through a network of 40 branches spread across 11 cities.
In July 2008, the Hanoi Representative Office was launched in an attempt to spearhead its wholesale banking business. In September, 2010, the Ho Chi Minh City branch was opened to service the financial needs of Singapore and Asia-based companies with business interests in China as well as the greater Indo-China region. Its inroads into West Asia started through a representative office in Dubai. This was followed by a partnership between DBS and over 30 investors from prominent families and industrial groups based in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries which led to the formation of The Islamic Bank of Asia (IB Asia) in May 2007. Headquartered in Singapore, IB Asia has a representative office in Bahrain.
Engagement that enthralls
As a leading financial entity, DBS is all set to expand its pan-Asia franchise by leveraging its presence in key Asian markets and facilitating the increasing trade and investment dynamics of these markets. It is also focussed on extending its end-to-end services, thereby promoting the capital inflow within the fast growing economies such as India and Indonesia. However, growth of its human asset remains the core philosophy of this financial behemoth as it marches its footprints across the Asia-pacific region. This stems from the fact that though modern technology has transformed the banking sector to a great extent, it’s ultimately a peoplecentric business. A bank with quintessential Asian roots, DBS is catapulted to explore all the available opportunities across the region. In course of this journey, its corporate ethos and strategic priorities hold supreme as it attempts to provide a new edge to the banking needs of its customers.
In modern day banking innovation is the key differentiator and as DBS is scaling across Asia, its business-driven technology roadmap is responsible for rolling out standardised software applications across the group, thereby enhancing the service quality for its customers. Significant investments are being made in regional capabilities, strengthening its Global Transaction Services (GTS) and Treasury & Markets (T&M) offering, to widen the product set available to its corporate and HNI clients across Asia. While the bank wants to be extremely strong in its home market, in its second largest market Hong Kong, DBS is trying to put an efficient management team to improve its customer segmentation and provide targeted services to mid-caps, SMEs and HNI customers.
DBS constantly endeavours to uphold its people oriented values for running its business. As a part of this policy the bank is committed to empowering, educating and engaging its 18,000 odd staff, representing over 30 nationalities so as to build a highly credible growth oriented organization focusing on good customer service and innovative business solutions.