DBS Group Holdings (DBS) has held its first-ever board meeting in Taiwan, bringing together nearly 30 DBS board directors and top executives from key Asian markets for the two-day conference that finishes today.
“We treat Taiwan as an important cornerstone for the Greater China strategy of the bank,” DBS Group Holdings Chair Peter Seah stated.
According to him, DBS holds its board meeting outside Singapore once a year, and they chose Taiwan because of the importance of the market.
“Also, we want to encourage (Taiwan’s) team to work very hard, so we brought our board members here to spend time with them,” Seah said with a laugh.
DBS Group Holdings CEO Piyush Gupta added that since DBS had been increasing its presence in Taiwan, it was useful to take the board to this country so as to get a sense of the situation on the ground.
According to Gupta, several board members have been to Taiwan before.
Greater China Strategy
Seah stated that over the past year, DBS has deepened cross-border connections between China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
DBS now has over 110 branches and 150 ATMs across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, offering seamless regional connectivity to customers and playing an intermediary role in the region’s increasing trade and investment flows.
“Taiwan is integral to our Greater China strategy,” the chair said.
Last year, DBS held its board meeting in China.
DBS was one of the first banks in Singapore and Hong Kong to provide yuan-trade settlement services.
It also offers offshore yuan banking services such as the interbank foreign exchange market and deposits.
To meet the yuan needs of its customers, DBS now provides offshore yuan-banking services in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
DBS Bank (Taiwan) general manager Jerry Chen said that as soon as the government in Taiwan opens the yuan-denominated domestic banking services, DBS Taiwan will be well-positioned to offer yuan services thanks to its branches in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Indeed, Chen said the bank’s yuan services will be at the same level as those the bank currently provides for other currencies.
Expansion in Taiwan
Chen announced yesterday that the bank plans to introduce in November two small and medium enterprise (SME) centers.
The primary focus of the centers will be on SMEs with regional manufacturing and trade businesses.
In addition, the bank will provide total banking solutions to customers and reinforce customer cross-selling, providing clients with a comprehensive range of financial services.
“We help our clients to seize growth opportunities,” Chen said.
The general manager said the bank has supported more than 200 Taiwanese corporations with credit of 7.5 billion yuan in China.
According to the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), among foreign banks DBS Taiwan leads SME lending.
As of July this year, its SME lending reached NT$21.9 billion (S$919 million), an increase of 12 per cent over last year.
For the first half of 2012, Standard Chartered SME lending stood at NT$20.3 billion, while Citibank’s was NT$7.6 billion.
As of the end of July 2012, DBS Taiwan’s net earnings before tax was NT$1.23 billion, a 64-per cent increase over the same period last year, according to the FSC.
At the same time, DBS Taiwan’s deposits reached NT$171 billion, achieving 30 per cent year-on-year growth.
Loans have also grown by 24 per cent.
Asian Bank of Choice
“We remain committed to growing in a measured way, as we deliver on our ambition to become the Asian bank of choice,” Gupta said.
“Unlike some international banks, DBS has a strategic focus on Asia, which is a large and growing market.”
“We are ready to capitalise on several big trends in this region, including the growing number of multinational corporations and SMEs, and the growth of an Asian middle class.” Gupta said he is confident that the bank’s focus on Asia gives it comparably better insights into the region.
Gupta said DBS is financially strong, with the bank receiving an “AA-” credit rating from Standard & Poor’s and an “Aa1″ rating from Moody’s – so being ranked one of the strongest banks in the world.
The bank was recognised by Global Finance as the “Safest Bank in Asia” from 2009 to 2012.
Gupta said DBS has tremendous liquidity in several countries for it to expand in Asia, while other investment banks are retreating because of their debt problems.
Gupta also emphasized that DBS brings to the market a distinct Asian style of banking.
DBS is relationship oriented and focuses on providing warm services in accordance with the Asian service standard.