Wed, Feb 20, 2019 - Page 12 News List

DBS reports double-digit growth despite saturation

‘NOT EASY’:The number of new clients per month rose from 3,000 to 10,000, in addition to about 500,000 clients from ANZ, general manager Lim Him-chuan told reporters

By Kao Shih-ching  /  Staff reporter

DBS Bank (星展銀行) yesterday reported double-digit percentage growth in pretax profits for last year, despite intense competition.

The bank said that it would seek stable profit growth this year by boosting its corporate lending, credit card issuance and wealth management services.

Pretax profit totaled NT$1.59 billion (US$51.55 million), up 15 percent from a year earlier, which is a good performance in a saturated market like Taiwan, DBS Bank general manager Lim Him-chuan (林鑫川) told a news conference in Taipei.

“We have seen our business increase following the acquisition of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd’s [ANZ] retail wealth management business in 2017, proving that the acquisition was successful,” Lim said.

“It was not easy, as many mergers and acquisitions ended in failure,” he said.

As ANZ had been losing clients before the acquisition, DBS Bank personnel last year began visiting the lost clients to collect their feedback and try to bring them back, head of consumer banking Seraph Sun (孫可基) said, adding that 600 employees from ANZ also helped boost the business.

Revenue in the consumer banking segment rose 84 percent and net profit jumped 147 percent from a year earlier, which proved that the acquisition had a positive effect, Sun said.

In addition to the 500,000 clients from ANZ, the number of new clients per month rose from 3,000 to 10,000 last month, Sun said, adding that 80 percent of them have active credit cards, higher than the industry average of 50 to 60 percent.

The bank last year launched three new credit cards and the number of its credit cards in circulation surpassed 550,000 last year, Sun said, adding that the credit card segment broke even last month.

The lender plans to issue a new credit card for top clients in the first half of this year, Sun added.

DBS Bank’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) lending last year rose 14.6 percent to NT$33.82 billion from NT$30.34 billion in the previous year, making it No. 1 among foreign banks in terms of SME lending, head of institutional banking group Tony Luo (羅綸有) said.

The corporate banking segment reported a 20 percent annual growth in deposits and revenue, as it extended loans to companies conducting mergers and acquisitions, and those in Apple Inc’s supply chain, Luo said.

DBS Bank, which participated in financing for Formosa I, the nation’s first offshore wind farm project, aims to fund Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners’ and Wpd Taiwan Energy Co Ltd’s (達德能源) wind farm projects this year, he said, adding that the exact number would be unveiled after the deals close and that the total amount might reach NT$100 billion.

“We support green energy, but we will not compromise risk management and legal compliance,” Luo said.

Asked whether the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ decision to reduce the feed-in tariff 5.71 percent would affect wind farm development, Luo said that developers are expected to remain willing to continue with the projects, as Taiwan has very good wind resources.

Although the nation’s economic growth is forecast to slow from 2.63 percent last year to 1.9 percent this year due to headwinds, DBS Bank is confident that its profit will continue to grow and outperform the nation’s GDP growth, Luo said.

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