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Diverse Markets Focused Thinking
In its Institutional Banking activities in 1999, DBS continued to deliver a wide range of financing options, advisory services and fund-raising programmes to support the growth and development of corporate customers in diverse industries around the region.

DBS arranged project financing in 1999 for electric power producers in China, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Over 60 percent of its lending activities was in Singapore dollars, where DBS maintained its dominant share in most sectors. Credit programmes available to customers include long-term loans offered in fixed and floating rates and short-term loans offered mainly on a floating rate pegged to the local prime or money market rates.

To help customers access new channels of funding, DBS was involved in several asset securitisation transactions. It also increased its non-capital-based earnings by building up its capabilities as a major Singapore-dollar service provider. Further progress was made in building a client base for Singapore-dollar clearing services.

Regional Projects
Outside Singapore, DBS has been diversifying its exposure to major projects around the Asia-Pacific including projects in non-crisis-hit countries.

DBS was one of three international banks to lead-arrange a US$400 million syndicated loan facility to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Central Bank of The Philippines. It also lead-arranged project finance facilities for the Dabhol Power Phase II project in India and the Changsha B-O-T power project in China. DBS co-arranged project financing for the Queensland Power Partnership in Australia and acquisition financing for Contact Energy Finance in New Zealand.

Loan Portfolio Management
A major challenge during the year was the management of the quality and yields of the loan portfolio. In particular, DBS took advantage of opportunities to buy higher-yielding regional corporate and sovereign issues to improve the overall yield of its regional loan portfolio. It also made good progress in managing and restructuring non-performing loans.

Trustee and Custody Services
DBS' custody services enjoyed a strong year with increased transaction volumes and growth in asset size. A strategic alliance was forged with State Street Bank & Trust Company to provide one-stop trustee, custody, unit-trust registration and accounting services to fund managers.

DBS continued to secure top ratings from international magazines for the quality and reliability of its custody services. The Asset rated DBS the Number One choice of global custodians for the Singapore market, while Global Custodian reiterated DBS' top-rated status in its annual agent bank survey. DBS was also given star ratings in GSCS Benchmark's annual survey for overall performance, settlement and safekeeping performance for the Singapore market.

Trade Services
In delivering trade products and services too, DBS increased its focus on customer needs. The Premier Service Unit was established in August as a one-stop trade services center to handle all types of customer enquiries. A dedicated team of Trade Product Specialists initiated regular visits to customers to provide solutions on more complicated commercial and commodity transactions.

Recognising the importance of convenience and affordability to customers, DBS has reorganised internal work processes to increase efficiency. This has facilitated the successful launch of a new TradePlus service for customers requiring quick processing within four hours, compared to the normal 24 hours required.