Thursday, November 13, 2008

Doing Business with DBS

In Singapore, it's difficult to avoid having a DBS account, and more broadly speaking, a local bank account (local referring to DBS, UOB or OCBC). This is because so many services are tied to local bank accounts.

These services include GIRO, direct debit of income tax, electronic payment of shares (EPS), dividends from shares held under account with the Central Depository, and receipt of transfer payments from the government (GST rebates, New Singapore Shares etc.)

Some of these services can now be provided by foreign banks with Qualifying Full Bank (QFB) licences (Maybank, HSBC, Citibank, StandardChartered and ABN AMRO, now acquired by RBS). But if you're like me, and you've already set up numerous banking arrangements, it's unlikely that you'll switch to a foreign bank for these services.

In addition, notwithstanding the atm5 network, the greater size of the local banks' ATM network islandwide generally make them more convenient to bank with.

While I may continue with my existing banking relationship with POSBank, however, today I have made the decision that I will not do any new business with DBS.

Lest you think so, this has nothing to do with the Minibonds fiasco. I don't do bank structured products, period.

If you flip open today's edition of the Straits Times and turn to page A5, you will see a full page ad from DBS on shopping mall discounts for DBS cardholders and how they will donate up to $15000 to Focus on the Family (Singapore) based on festive redemptions.

While family seems like an innocuous enough cause, and certainly no one could object to donating to a family-related cause, FotF (Singapore) is affiliated with the ultra-conservative, right-wing and evangelical Focus on the Family. Of all the charities out there, DBS had to pick this one.

I am completely against conservative, right-wing evangelical organisations like FotF. I disagree with their positions on so many things (politics, social policy, religious intolerance, LGBT rights, evolution/intelligent design, manipulation of research) and on so many levels (me being a social liberal, humanist, scientist and biomedical engineer).

I'm not against the Christian faith per se (and believe me, I spent 10 years in Methodist institutions as a student), and I support the right of freedom to worship, religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue. But I find the conservative and right-wing character of evangelical organisations like FotF especially objectionable. Odious even.

And now DBS has decided to support them for this holiday season. That's it, DBS, I'm not doing any new business with you anymore. No to your credit cards, fixed deposits, home loans, bank accounts, mutual funds and Hell no! to your structured products. Just the plain vanilla savings account that I've had since I was a child and even that is really a concession to POSB (you can tell where my loyalties lie). And frankly, it's not a hard decision to make because service at DBS generally sucks.


Anonymous said...

Kinda Weak. You should close ALL da accounts if you are truly serious about what ya say. Yea, you should! C'mon. I checked da site to this focus thing and it looks pretty sweet. What's the problemo? Ciao

healwealth said...

You come across as an educated person - engineer and scientist. Also, you are principled and have your convictions and are certainly entitled to act according to them.

As for your comments about 'Focus', every person and organization has their own distinctiveness and people don't necessarily see eye-to-eye because of the differences.

I am sure you are aware that some of the areas you mentioned that you disagree with - eg that they are conservative, their positions on LGBT rights, are views held by other religious organizations as well.

I'm glad you are not against the Christian faith per se, you said that you spent 10 years in Methodist institutions as a student.

Whatever your experience has been in your encounter with Christians and Christian organizations, allow me to say that Christians, Christian organizations and Churches are not perfect, we have our shortcomings and do fail and disappoint.

That is why I have found that it is needful to put all else aside and focus on just the person of Jesus Christ Himself.

Junnie said...

Judging from so many reactions from the public, especially the LGBT community, DBS must had made a terrible choice.

In my opinion, I feel that DBS may have never imagined the reaction from the masses who are extremely objectionable towards FOTF, especially the LGBT community. Perhaps the bank had thought that they are simply a charity that devotes itself by promoting family values, and perhaps this is the image the bank would like to potray to the masses during the festive season.

To be frank, I also do not know that FOTF is an ultra-conservative charity organisation until I saw some of the post people had written about, and checking on some other sources describing about FOTF and it's affiliate in America

So I guess, since DBS has already decided to withdraw the advertisments about supporting FOTF, let's give them a break.