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Opinion

Asia banking: Unrequited love

Samuel Tsien, the CEO of Singapore’s OCBC Bank, was in the mood for love…

Samuel Tsien-160x186
Samuel Tsien, OCBC

“Happy Valentine’s day,” he breathed into the microphone. The bank’s half-year results had fallen on Chinese Valentine’s Day in August and now it was the westerners’ turn for the full-year numbers. “We’re trying to make it a tradition to see if we can always see you on Valentine’s day.” He wasn’t done. To a room full of journalists and analysts, he continued: “I wish all of your relationships will blossom. With your loved ones. Your family members. And your bankers.”

It didn’t work. None of the analysts or journalists wanted to talk about love. They just wanted to ask him about oil and gas services exposure and climbing NPLs. But the course of true love never does run smooth, Sam, so don’t give up.

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