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Banking

DBS: Top of the digital class

No other bank explains its tech performance better than DBS

Four years on from a pivotal senior staff meeting in Seoul, when chief executive Piyush Gupta resolved it was time to stop comparing the bank with traditional peers and instead start comparing it with big data firms like Amazon, DBS’s digital reinvention is visible everywhere

When it rolls out new products like digibank in India, it does so tech-style, launching beta versions into the market and updating them (sometimes) weekly as the bank learns from market experience. It is also making more use of the public cloud, reducing the need for data centres.

Better still, it is perhaps the only bank that does a good job of quantifying what tech means for profitability

It can dissect to a minute degree the performance of digital versus traditional customers, on return on equity, income, frequency of transaction, cost to service and a host of other metrics. 

For example, CFO Chng Sok Hui says digital consumer and small and medium-sized enterprise customers are delivering 27% return on equity and a 23% compound annual growth rate since 2015; for traditional clients it is 19% ROE and -2% CAGR.

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