[Update on 14 July 2010 -- What DBS's system failure shows http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/07/14/dbs-what-the-systems-failure-report-shows/]
Much has been written by those who think the FT policy is wrong. What I find strange is that they do not write about what has happened at DBS. I have blogged on this before http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/24/dbs-what-the-new-chairman-shld-be-looking-at/ and http://atans1.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/dbs-what-the-new-chairman-should-be-looking-at-iii/
And here I continue (feeling grumpy today) giving more examples of where the FTs went wrong, quoting in italics BT (that nation-building, constructive, newspaper). I give no dates of when the articles were written as I’ve taken them from various articles over the last two months. I think DBS must have been doing a PR exercise building up its relatively new CEO.
But in doing so, BT inadvertently reminded us of DBS’s missteps that can be blamed on the FTs. Either that or there are “subversives” at BT that the ISD have failed to root out (Or are there subversives at the the ISD too?). If you think I’m as mad as a Paki conspiracy theorist, remember ST was rebuked by the government for its AWARE coverage. It was too pro smelly, hairy feminists and pinkos for many of us, and the government rebuke showed us that we were right.
Bet wrongly on Chola
An analysis by BT shows DBS is likely to have suffered a heavy loss on its investment in Chola. At 3.76 billion rupees (S$118 million), the sale price was $29 million below DBS’s total investment of $147 million in Chola since late 2005, based on data from the two companies’ past annual reports.
Bad acquisition strategy
Could DBS’s minority stakes in banks in Thailand and the Philippines – also a legacy of past forays abroad – be the next to go?”
‘As a general rule, minority stakes are not attractive,’ DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta told Reuters in an interview in Hong Kong on March 25. ‘The only reason you would want a minority stake is, really, if you think you have a pathway to control the big strategic agenda around it.’
It is not yet clear if he will apply this thinking only to new acquisitions. But if he is serious about refocusing DBS on its core strengths, then its bank holdings in Thailand and the Philippines are suitable candidates for divestment.
In 1998, DBS bought controlling stakes in banks in both countries – 50.3 per cent of Thai Danu Bank and 60 per cent of Bank of Southeast Asia in the Philippines. …
In 2001, DBS’s Philippine subsidiary was absorbed into Bank of the Philippines Islands, in which DBS now has a 20.3 per cent stake. In 2004, its Thai unit merged with the Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand and Thai Military Bank to form TMB Bank, leaving DBS with a stake of just 16.1 per cent in the new entity. Subsequent share issues by TMB have diluted DBS’s stake in the bank to just 7 per cent.
Ignoring connecting with S’poreans
POSB’s latest campaign – already dubbed by one wit as the baby-account war – hopes to recover some lost ground after it let slip the so-called baby bonus accounts to rivals OCBC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
DBS lost this group of customers in 2008 when its bid failed to retain the Children Development Accounts (CDA). The baby bonus accounts are a no-brainer yearly addition of 40,000 new customers – roughly the number of babies born here each year. OCBC and Stanchart won the right to offer CDAs after the government called a tender in 2008. POSB had been handling the CDAs since the government launched it in 2001 as part of the effort to raise the fertility rate.
‘To be honest, the CDA is a great government scheme – it’s a pity we don’t have it,’ said Rajan Raju, head of DBS Bank’s consumer banking yesterday.
It’s not just babies, POSB is going after schoolkids and the baby boomers too and it’s all part of an overall strategy to live up to its community bank tag, said Mr Raju.
‘We’re coming back to the community in many ways. We’re proud that we’re neighbours first and bankers second,’ he said.
Only an FT could have made this mistake
POSB’s latest strategy is the latest phase of a journey since the bank was acquired by DBS some 12 years ago, he said.
Sceptics would say DBS has so far ‘wasted’ the acquisition which gave it the biggest deposit base of all banks here.
DBS is looking to make POSB a holistic bank that provides more than just basic banking services, to offer savings, investments and growth products, said Mr Raju.
Most or 92 per cent of respondents in a 2006 survey are satisfied with POSB’s service. But given that it has 3.5 million customers, that would still leave 280,000 with issues.
Many complaints are to do with its long queues, which is being tackled.
By year end, the group will have more than 1,000 ATMs compared to the 967 now, Mr Raju said.
Its ATMs are the most heavily used in the world, according to vendor NCR, he said. Monthly usage for the most popular ATMs is more than 40,000 versus less than 10,000 at other machines, said Mr Raju.
POSB understands what customers want, which is simple products that people can understand and sign up for, he said. ‘We have very little fine print, what you see is what you get.’
‘At this point, people remain risk averse,’ said Mr Raju. ‘They come to POSB to find protection and investment products.’
Late into mobile banking
DBS Bank and POSB customers can now perform transactions on their mobile phones.
DBS has finally joined rivals OCBC Bank, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank in offering banking via the mobile phone, a popular facility among young professionals. The service, called mBanking, allows customers to review their banking and credit card accounts, transfer funds and pay bills.
But do they have any valuables after HN5 Notes?
[A] premium safe deposit centre for DBS Treasures members. Occupying two levels, it offers high-net-worth clients exclusive surroundings to store and indulge in their valuables. Gourmet coffee and sparkling water are served free of charge. And the washrooms are laid out with Molton Brown hand wash and lotions.