DBS Bank (formerly known as the Development Bank of Singapore) recently made an outstanding achievement as it was crowned as “World’s Best Bank of 2019” by leading global financial publication, Euromoney. The Bank’s tremendous success was largely accredited to its digital transformation which is recognized as one of the most comprehensive in the world. This is solidly proven as the bank also received Euromoney’s best digital bank in 2018, which was their second in three years.

What DBS did was something that Euromoney called “small but revolutionary”. Rather than merely focusing on digital strategy, the bank decided to quantify exactly what digitalization means for profitability. The result is that compared to a traditional branch-visiting customer, a digital customer brings in twice the income, keeps a higher loan and deposit balances, costs 57% less to acquire, conducts 16 times as many self-led transactions and delivers 27% return on equity compared with 19% for traditional clients.

One of the key transformation that DBS undertook to achieve success is by being digital to the very core. In today’s fast-paced society, this means pushing banking to be more invisible. No matter how big or small a transaction is, it needs to be done quickly and intelligently. With the use of digital wallets, UPI and QR codes, the nature of payments have evolved digitally right to the core. DBS has also take Digitalization to the next level of banking including loans, quick account opening, investments, and a whole lot more. This is what the bank has achieved through its one-stop digital banking service: digibank.   

Banking has come a long way since the days of regular visits to tellers. Back in the days, all kinds of banking activities can only be done at actual brick-and-mortar financial institutions. Even the simple task of checking your account balance used to require a trip to the bank; and every transactions requires physical papers being filled out as documentation. Launched first in India in 2016, DBS’ digibank initiative -in a nutshell- broke free from this tradition by offering a completely paperless, signature-less, and branchless banking experience.

Turning away from brick-and-mortar bank branch services, digibank has instead made the best of a wide range of technology to offer improved services to customers. Among its many useful features is the AI-driven virtual assistant which is available 24/7 to serve various banking needs and queries. Not only that it understands natural language and has learning ability, but it can also hold “human-like” conversations. Currently, the virtual assistant can handle over 80% of all customer requests without human intervention. Less than 20% of customer requests go to live chat sessions.

The response? Over 1.5 million people signed up after just 12 months of digibank’s launch – all without stepping foot into a branch. The relatively early success of DBS’ initiative, particularly in India, comes down to three crucial factors: convenience, technological leverage, and understanding of its potential market. In terms of convenience, digibank allowed people to open their accounts without requiring them to go to a physical branch and provide numerous documentation and paperwork just to be accredited. In technological leverage, digibank optimize the use of technology (such as the AI virtual assistant) to make the process more effective and efficient. A cornerstone of DBS’ digibank initiative is the security it provides to its current and future clients through the platform.


Learning from what DBS has successfully achieved, it is a proven fact that the changes in customers’ behaviors due to the rapid advancement of technology also impact their preferences in banking services. As a banking and financial services provider, you will definitely need to develop the perfect digital system that fits your intended market. Although what DBS did was drastic and on a grand scale, it doesn’t mean that you also need to do it all at once. You can still undergo a digital transformation by applying various digital solutions in parts of your operation and gradually create that desired ‘digital ecosystem’; not only in customer service but also in the general business operation.

As your partner in digital technology, we at WGS can provide you with a wide range of digital solutions that can help your financial and banking services operations. These ranges from digital wallets, Mobile Banking App, AI-driven virtual assistant , and a whole lot more. Feel free to contact us for a consultation or browse through our wide range of solutions.

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