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Getting Rid of the Rust: Three years after the Crisis, many in the Asiaweek Financial 500 are in the black. Will profitability last?

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Money and Investing: Riding the hottest financial stocks in Asia (plus the 100 hottest bank stocks)

Foreign Invasion?: Overseas banks go slow on buyouts
Technology: The nitty gritty of Internet banking
Halfway at full speed: Hong Kong and Singapore rebound
The Acquired: What Danu Bank learned form its new owner
The Home-Alone Bank: Why Taiwan's Chinatrust didn't expand

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Singapore: Loosen Up
Snapshot: 8 banks (1999: 9) Assets: $172.9b. ($171.3b.) Profits: $2.0b. ($842m.)

Already among the best capitalized financial institutions in the world, Singapore banks will soon get better after they divest themselves of non-financial holdings (mostly property and shares) as ordered by the government.

RESTRUCTURING Much-touted mergers among the five local banks haven't happened despite the government's goading.

LENDING Loan growth has been slower than the near double-digit rate some were predicting. Corporate borrowers are returning. Expect loan growth to accelerate in the last quarter of this year or first of next year.

REGULATION While much of Asia is tightening, Singapore is trying to go in the other direction. Monetary authorities fear a too-tight regulatory regime is constricting development of the financial services sector.

LIBERALIZATION Singapore issued new foreign bank licenses last year allowing institutions like Citibank to increase their retail presence. Expect more opening next year to spur local bank consolidation.

Performance Topnotchers:8 Best Performing Banks
$ Mill
$ Mill
Profit as % of



Assets Equity
1 DBS 63,905 643.3 1.0% 9.9% 34
2 UNITED OVERSEAS BANK 33,913 456.3 1.3% 12.3% 66
3 OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORP. 32,587 413.9 1.3% 9.3% 70
4 OVERSEAS UNION BANK 23,633 270.1 1.1% 9.5% 92
5 KEPPEL TATLEE BANK 14,546 155.9 1.1% 10.1% 145
6 INDUSTRIAL & COMMERCIAL BANK 2,316 18.9 0.8% 4.1% 350
7 BANK OF SINGAPORE 1,565 13.2 0.8% 7.4% 379
8 FAR EASTERN BANK 427 5.2 1.2% 7.2% 454

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Rating show the number of banks in each category; "E" is the lowest grade for financial soundness. Souce: Moody's Investors Service

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