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Top 5 Banks in Singapore in 2023

banks in singapore

Singapore banking is a remarkable success story.

The small state occupies only 280 square miles of territory, and it didn't achieve independence until 1965.

But in fifty short years, it has become a major world finance player.

Now recognized as an international finance hub, Singapore has over 100 banks.

It is known as one of the Four Asian Tigers—fast-growing economies like South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

With a population of less than 6 million, it still has a gross domestic product (GDP) of 340 billion dollars!

Many factors have contributed to Singapore's rise, not the least of its reputation for being one of the least corrupt nations globally.

One essential factor: Singapore embraces digital banking.

The Business Times analyzes how well world economies utilize digital competitiveness and ranked Singapore fourth in 2022.

In such a vibrant and fast-growing economic hub, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) has an ideal home.

There are many excellent banks in the region, but for SMEs, there are five fantastic choices.

1. Development Bank Of Singapore (DBS)

Total Assets: US$451.6B

Total Profit: US$4.3B

Credit Rating: AA-

When Singapore became independent in 1965, the Developmental Bank of Singapore, or DBS, was right behind.

The bank was founded in 1968 and has grown rapidly to become one of the world's most important banks.

DBS has been chosen as the world's best bank three years in a row (how about that trophy case!).

It recently launched an initiative under the slogan "live more, bank less," to deliver banking that is suited for the digital era.

A fun snapshot of DBS' history: they opened their first branch in Jurong, and two of their staff members set mobile offices up at shipyards and factories to help better serve workers.

They welcomed "fishmongers and stallholders" to the new branch.

They were also one of the first banks to offer Saturday hours, a huge convenience in 1975!

2. Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC)

Total Assets: US$451.6B

Total Profit: US$4.3B

Credit Rating: AA-

The OCBC Bank towers over the Singapore banking scene in more ways than one—its signature headquarters was once the tallest building in Southeast Asia.

OCBC's assets are also sky-high, with over 340 billion dollars, second in Singapore. 

OCBC was also named the best retail bank in Singapore and received awards for excellence in digital innovation and digital wealth management. 

That sort of thinking is nothing new to OCBC Bank.

All the way back in 1948, the bank created a night drop deposit that allowed its customers to drop their earnings safely to the bank without waiting for the next sunrise. 

And you could argue that OCBC invented one of the very first "mobile banking apps."

Branches sent workers out with carts to towns that didn't have banks in them to do their banking right where they lived.

3. United Overseas Bank (UOB)

Total Assets: US$451.6B

Total Profit: US$4.3B 

Credit Rating: AA-

UOB has been a force in banking since before Singapore gained its independence.

It came to life in 1935 and endured through years of conflict and occupation.

Understandably, the institution has prioritized stability and safety.

The "quiet family bank" has recently been working to expand its digital presence with bolder moves.

4. Standard Chartered

Total Assets: US$451.6B

Total Profit: US$4.3B

Credit Rating: AA-

Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore is part of an international banking group out of Great Britain, with over 100 years of experience in banking.

The worldwide firm boats 60 markets, and 85,000 employees and promotes diversity as one of its most important strengths.

Their promise is "here for good," and given their history in Singapore, they've kept it.

They opened their first branch well before independence, all the way back in 1859.

In 1999, they were one of the first banks to receive a Qualifying Full Bank or QFB license from the government.

5. Citibank

Total Assets: US$451.6B

Total Profit: US$4.3B

Credit Rating: AA-

Citibank Singapore focuses on wealth management products and services, credit cards and housing loans, and share financing.

Alternative to Banking in Singapore

There are often other options to banking in Singapore than actually using banks.

In fact, a lot of digital businesses are also banking digitally as well.

Platforms like Statrys help SMEs around the world by giving them all the premium services the big banks provide, without any of the headaches when it comes to opening an account or keeping an account open.

Statrys is a one-of-a-kind neobank in South East Asia where Currency Exchange forwarding, traditionally offered only to larger clients at traditional banks, is made available for SMEs who do cross-border trading.

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