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DBS Bank suggests digitization

DBS Bank feels that the Asian banking industry is on a ‘burning platform’ of competition from mobile and internet companies and must embrace digital banking to ensure long-term survival. Piyush Gupta, CEO of the bank, said: “There’s no question in my mind, we’re the most digitisable industry in the world and the way things are going, in five years, we’re going to have our lunch eaten if we don’t respond appropriately. His comments are a sign that a sense of urgency in the banking industry to combat the threats posed by non-traditional operators in financial services is spreading to Asia, where demand for banking services is growing fast as economic growth is still outpacing the west. Gupta said Chinese internet companies such as Tencent, Weibo and Alibaba were way ahead of anybody else in this game, while Facebook’s recent launch of a payments function added to pressure on banks to change. It will be interesting to see how far they get but it’s going to happen one way or the other in the next five years and, for banks, therefore, this has become a burning platform in both an offensive and defensive way, he said. DBS has pledged to spend S$200m in an expansion of its digital banking franchise.

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