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
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.