DBS bank customers to expect greater peace of mind when transferring funds

SINGAPORE – DBS Bank customers can expect better service and greater peace of mind when transferring funds following an overhaul of the bank’s systems in the wake of several outages last year, its chief executive said on March 28.

“I am quite confident that you will be able to see greater and better service availability. You’ll be able to use alternate channels if something does go down… and have better confidence about payments certainty, both for payer and receiver,” DBS Group CEO Piyush Gupta told shareholders at an annual general meeting.

Mr Gupta said efforts to ensure the bank can provide “complete clarity” to customers on whether PayNow transactions and fund transfers are done have been successful, and that options for them to use alternate channels to bank when the system is down will be available by end-April.

He acknowledged that pending transactions due to lags in the system can cause customers a lot of uncertainy, such as whether to make a duplicate payment or not.

“We’re working very hard to try to eliminate the uncertainty so you’ll get complete clarity on whether the transaction is successful, or the transaction is not successful,” he said.

He added that a special board has been formed and senior executives, including a new tech leader, have been hired to focus on managing technology risks.

The moves come after a string of technology outages at the bank last year, including one where DBS online banking and payment services were down for hours on Oct 14, 2023, while DBS ATM services were disrupted at several locations, prompting disciplinary action by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The Republic’s biggest bank is aiming for a return on equity (ROE) of 15 per cent to 17 per cent in the medium term or over the next three to five years.

“Rates have come down from the 5.5 per cent, we think the new normal is closer to 3 per cent but even in that environment, we think we continue to deliver 15 per cent to 17 per cent ROE,” Mr Gupta said.

ROE is a gauge of a corporation’s profitability and how efficiently it generates those profits. The higher the ROE, the better a company is at converting its equity financing into profits.

Mr Gupta said the drivers include faster growth among its high ROE businesses such as wealth management and global transaction services.

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