DBS named world's best bank in nod to response to Covid-19

DBS Bank was prepared for the sharp rise in demand for digital banking services during the pandemic. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

DBS has been named best bank in the world by financial publication Global Finance, marking the third consecutive year in which it has been recognised through various awards as a top global bank.

The New York-based magazine's publisher and editorial director Joseph Giarraputo said DBS Bank is exemplary of a bank that was ready for the sharp rise in demand for digital banking services during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: "Over the past decade, it invested heavily in all things digital and created a culture for banking that is inclusive and efficient. Those investments are paying off at a time of economic uncertainty. They have strengthened the bank's resilience and helped it to serve its customers in their time of need."

Past winners of the best bank in the world award include Bank of America and ING Bank.

DBS' latest award follows similar honours last year and in 2018. Finance magazine Euromoney named it world's best bank last year, in a first for an Asian bank.

In 2018, it was named best bank in the world by Global Finance. It picked up another award in the same year, when Financial Times publication The Banker named it global bank of the year.

DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta said the bank is honoured to put Singapore on the world map again. He also acknowledged the vital role that banks play in supporting employees, customers and the wider community amid the Covid-19 crisis.

"We are humbled by the acknowledgement of our efforts on this front, particularly how our investments in digital and our culture of inclusivity have enabled us to serve customers in their time of need," he said.

In March, the bank launched a digital relief package to help food and beverage businesses set up an online food ordering site in just three business days.

Supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore, DBS worked with two local tech start-ups, Oddle and FirstCom, to help its food and beverage clients establish an online presence through measures such as an e-menu, digital shopfront and social media presence.

Among the bank's other initiatives, its subsidiary POSB opened about 41,000 bank accounts for migrant workers in April, more than three times its usual monthly sign-ups of 11,000 to 13,000.

This allowed workers to access digital banking services via the POSB Jolly app, especially when they were quarantined in dormitories because of Covid-19.

DBS was this year named Singapore's most valuable brand for the eighth consecutive year by brand strategy and valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

It placed first in the consultancy's 2020 top 100 Singapore brands ranking, with a brand value of US$8.47 billion (S$11.6 billion).

At the release of its second-quarter financial results last month, Mr Gupta said DBS has been increasing its digital transactions and market share over the past few months.

South-east Asia's largest bank reported a 22 per cent fall in net profit to $1.2 billion as it set aside more money for loan provisions.

This was down from $1.6 billion a year ago, narrowly beating the $1.19 billion average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2020, with the headline DBS named world's best bank in nod to response to Covid-19. Subscribe