RBS to transfer China portfolios to Singapore's DBS
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) will transfer its retail and commercial banking customers in three of China's largest cities to Singapore's DBS Bank, it was announced Wednesday.
Under an agreement between the two lenders, an estimated 25,000 RBS customers in Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen will be given the option to transfer their accounts to DBS, the Singapore bank said in a statement.
It said the transfer process was expected to be completed within six months, and some employees would also move as part of the deal.
"This landmark agreement enables DBS China to rapidly expand its retail banking customer base, grow its deposit base and correspondingly, accelerate plans to grow its loan portfolio, in a market that is of critical importance to DBS," said Melvin Teo, chief executive of DBS China.
"Going forward, to better serve our customers in China, DBS intends to expand its branch network across China," he said, adding the bank intends to double its staff to 2,000.
In a separate statement, RBS said the divestment of its retail and commercial operations in China was part of the bank's strategic review announced in February.
RBS has been forced to restructure its operations following a massive British government rescue after the bank was ravaged by the credit crunch and the takeover of Dutch giant ABN Amro at the top of the market in 2007.
The Chinese divestment "enables us to fully focus our efforts on building our core wholesale and investment banking business," said John McCormick, the chairman of RBS in the Asia Pacific region.
China remains an important market for RBS which will continue to concentrate on wholesale investment and private banking in the region, he said.
"RBS is strongly committed to the long-term development of its business in China and has built multiple banking and non-banking business platforms in the country," McCormick said.
DBS was the first Singapore lender to set up a locally incorporated subsidiary in China in May 2007. It now has 16 outlets in China's major cities including Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin.
© 2010 AFP