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DBS: Covid a proving ground for digital theories

DBS has suffered, but its model looks well placed in this environment.

DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta

Clearly no bank welcomed Covid, but one would imagine that DBS was better equipped to deal with it than most.

The enforced transition of ordinary people from mainstream to digital channels, which has been a fixture of customer behaviour all over the world, ought to play to the strengths of a bank that has been a pioneer in digital transformation and has set much of its strategy of the last seven years or so upon achieving it.

So, did DBS do better than the rest? Yes and no.

Clearly, it was well-positioned for the changes that came.

“Covid just allowed us to attract everybody in the world to accelerate the digitalization agenda,” says chief executive Piyush Gupta, speaking at a recent Euromoney LiveStream event. “It wasn’t a dramatic shift, but it was a massive acceleration.”

There was widespread take-up of digital products and platforms as one might expect, with a fourfold increase in people aged over 60 adopting digital channels, for example.

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