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Singapore banks earn top marks for customer satisfaction from Asia corporate clients

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Corporate and institutional customers in Asia are highly satisfied with the banking products and services provided by Singapore’s DBS Bank, United Overseas Bank and OCBC Bank, according to a twice-yearly survey by specialist research and consulting firm East & Partners Asia.

CORPORATE and institutional customers in Asia are highly satisfied with the banking products and services provided by Singapore’s DBS Bank, United Overseas Bank (UOB) and OCBC Bank, according to a twice-yearly survey by specialist research and consulting firm East & Partners Asia.

For liquidity management solutions, UOB topped the customer satisfaction rating in the region, attaining a score of 1.70 on a scale of 1 for “satisfied” to 5 for “dissatisfied”. Standard Chartered came in second with 1.75, followed by OCBC (1.78) and DBS (1.80).

As for short-term debt, Singapore’s banks were again ranked highly by their primary customers, with OCBC leading at 1.53, following by UOB, Bank of China, CIMB and DBS.

Nearly half of the large corporates surveyed said that liquidity management and short-term debt are the most important product lines.

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These two will be the core areas of focus for treasury departments in the near future to optimise cash flow and enhance working capital efficiency, East & Partners said on Tuesday.

In terms of service metrics, Singapore banks are also winning marks in critical factors including value for money and credit approval turnaround times.

In particular, corporates in Asia are increasingly emphasising value for money when deciding on their transaction banking relationships as they implement cost-cutting measures in their day-to-day operations, East & Partners noted.

“This plays into the Singapore banks’ advantage as the big international banks start to refine and rationalise their relationships with corporate clients, and over 90 per cent of Asian corporates said value for money was a key driver for them to switch to alternative providers if they are offered a better deal,” said Sangiita Yoong, Asia business head at East & Partners.

The key issue now is how to turn these happy customers into advocates and ensure a strong presence in the customer’s mind. In short, the banks need to link customer satisfaction with advocacy and wallet growth, Ms Yoong said.

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East & Partners’ research looks at demand for transaction banking products and relationships from the top 1,000 companies across 10 major markets in Asia: China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. It is based on direct interviews with 942 chief financial officers (CFOs) and corporate treasurers in the region. The top 100 corporates ranked by revenue in each of the 10 Asian markets were targeted for the interviews.

On Tuesday as at 11.11am, DBS shares were trading down nine Singapore cents at S$25.68, UOB was down 11 cents at S$25.75, while OCBC was up four cents to S$11.32.