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DBS Bank Annual Report 1998

Performance at a Glance

Financial Highlights

Letter to Shareholders

Corporate Governance

Operations Review

Financial Report



Operations Review


Technology is the key to offering integrated
services, innovative products and complete financial
information - and to improving productivity, enriching
the skills of our workforce, and transferring global
best practices throughout the organisation.


The future of banking is the delivery of information and services in an integrated fashion. Increasingly, financial service providers will have to respond to customer requirements in real time, any time, anywhere. We seek to maximise the skills and energy of our workforce to better control investment and expenses by centralising the Bank's functional support activities. As the support and service structure comes together, we will be even better positioned to serve our customers. As functions are upgraded to centres of excellence, leveraging operating platforms and size, Singapore will serve as a model for our overseas operations.

An efficient and cost-effective processing and servicing environment demands scale economies; centralisation helps management capitalise on the similarities in straight-through methodology which, even with our diverse product offering are greater than the differences. The Bank has already begun to consolidate its processing and servicing capabilities from credit cards and mortgage processing to day-to-day customer support and enquiry functions. The goal to consolidate the various operating platforms for efficiency and control will take some time to fully accomplish but will facilitate our efforts to establish benchmarks for continuous improvement.

Information technology is a core competence at DBS Bank. We are a respected leader in finding new ways to apply technology to all aspects of the banking business. Clearly, technology is the linchpin of our strategy to build a world-class regional bank. It is key to offering integrated services and a varied product range, improving productivity, enriching the skills of our workforce and transferring global best practices rapidly throughout the DBS organisation.

Much work has been completed in web-based communications, data mining and warehousing, risk simulation, encryption and fraud detection, together with the constant upgrading of core systems for processing and reporting to our diverse constituencies. While there is no area in which we anticipate greater change, we believe we are solidly grounded and will achieve significant advantage from 'commercialising' technologies in all of the markets where we compete in Asia.

Building a world-class bank
Individual and Enterprise Banking
Institutional Banking, Treasury and Capital Markets
Regional Development
Supporting the Community

Investment in technology means improved communications, closer monitoring and enhanced security systems across the bank.


DBS continues to find new ways to use technology to provide better service delivery and efficiency - and most importantly, to allow our people to focus their time and energies on serving customers. This is increasingly important as business volumes grow, the level of complexity in our industry increases and our regional presence expands. For example, a new system for on-screen cheque verification by a central processing unit has increased productivity and freed branch staff to concentrate on marketing new products. Another advance improves and centralises the age-old process of cheque cutting, using the latest workflow and imaging technologies. Additional services available to our cyberbanking customers include bidding for Certificates of Entitlement for the purchase of automobiles, fixed deposit placement and instantaneous credit card enquiries.

The Customer Profile System launched in 1998 uses state-of-the-art software to capture historical information about DBS customers in a secure environment - available only to authorised banking officers - at the click of a mouse. Quick and complete access to information, and enhanced communications capabilities help us to support our operations throughout Asia and provide the same level of service in our subsidiaries that customers have come to expect in Singapore. During the course of 1998 we were also active participants in the implementation of the new, national real-time gross settlements system introduced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and improved our back-office processes for better control of the receipt and release of funds.

Risk management capabilities are also being consolidated into a centralised group to create, within DBS as a whole, a panoramic view - across products, geography and counterparties of assets and liabilities on and off the balance sheet - of the risks we deal with every day. During the year, a credit scoring system and a data warehouse to facilitate credit analysis were rolled out internally as part of this effort. We implemented methodologies to estimate the potential credit exposure of off-balance sheet instruments through statistical analysis. On market risk management, we extended our Daily Earnings at Risk (DEaR) reporting beyond Head Office to cover major overseas branches and subsidiaries. We also put in place a system to monitor compliance with DEaR-based limits which ensures that risk-takers do not exceed the aggregate risk and concentration parameters set by senior management.

Please click here for further details of our risk management organisation and our operating philosophy for monitoring and managing risk.