Asia's best bank 2016: DBS
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Asia's best bank 2016: DBS

Awards for Excellence 2016

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Results index 

It is time to acknowledge a home-grown banking champion that, while still lacking the pan-Asian scope of some international rivals, has demonstrated consistent excellence and a commitment to innovation. At a time when many western banks are in retreat from Asia, it is right to applaud one that is increasing market penetration almost everywhere it attempts to do business.

Yet it is a surprisingly rare model in Asia. Asean-focused banks abound, but DBS is the only local house that seems to want to take on Greater China, India and Indonesia. As CEO Piyush Gupta notes: half the world lives there. There is plenty to do.

DBS is of sufficient scale now that it can stand comparison with global banks. Full year total income hit S$10.8 billion ($8 billion) in 2015 and net profit S$4.45 billion, roughly what UBS earned in financial 2014; more importantly, both revenues and profits were up 12% year on year in a difficult environment.

Gupta is fond of a chart that cross-references year-on-year revenue growth and return on equity on a grid, comparing DBS with global peers.