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Morning Coffee: Singapore banks forced to beef up staff training

Singapore banks forces to beef up staff training

SME bankers train hard

Banking for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may not be the most glamorous part of the finance sector, but it’s one where banks in Asia are both recruiting more new staff and training up current employees.

As we noted last year, SME relationship managers based in Singapore and Hong Kong are in demand as banks look to service SMEs in these cities and in near-by emerging markets like China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Now Singaporean lenders OCBC and UOB are investing more resources into training bankers to address the specific needs of SME clients, reports Channel News Asia. UOB has announced a partnership with Singapore Management University – the “UOB-SMU Banker’s Executive Certificate” – to impart the specialist skills needed for bankers to help local SMEs expand abroad.

The course includes classroom-based study in such fun topics as credit and risk management, trade financing and regional regulatory frameworks. “We actually teach them and get deeper into the regional regulatory requirements, frameworks, so that it provide deeper and more specialised advice to our customers,” head of group business banking at UOB, Victor Lee, told CNA. OUB expects to train 120 SME bankers in year one of the programme.

Meanwhile,  OCBC says it holds SME-focused training sessions for its employees at least four times a year. A typical class of 25 to 30 employees will “pick up know-how on OCBC’s SME banking offerings, as well as the finer points of tailoring service for different business circumstances,” reports CNA.

In theory, all this extra training should help the two banks retain highly sought-after SME bankers. But it could also spark the interest of rivals – DBS, Citi and HSBC are all hiring in this sector – keen to poach well-trained SME staff.


Singapore-based Sean Wallace, Standard Chartered’s head of corporate and institutional clients, is leaving just as new CEO Bill Winters takes over. (Bloomberg)

ANZ’s board and senior management on pilgrimage to Silicon Valley. (The Australian)

ICBC looks to expand retail banking in Singapore. (Asia One)

Citic Securities to issue up to 8b yuan of shares-backed securities. (South China Morning Post)

China shares drop amid fears of equity bubble. (Wall Street Journal)

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