RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Check out which Singapore bank is the most cost-efficient

It has the lowest staff cost per employee at US$61,800 (S$83,333).

UOB Kay Hian reports OCBC leads in cost efficiency with the lowest staff cost per employee and ‘very lean’ non-wage expenses. This is against US$89,600 (S$120,830) for DBS and US$64,900 (S$87,620) for UOB.

However, DBS’ staff cost per employee grew at a slightly slower CAGR at 3.6% for 2013-17, vs 4.8% for OCBC and 4.9% for UOB. Staff cost accounted for 61.6% of operating expenses for OCBC despite its lower staff costs per employee, vs 56% for DBS and 55.3% for UOB in September 2017.

DBS also leads in productivity with the highest income per employee at US$399,500 (S$538,805) as of 3Q17 (annualised), significantly above the US$239,800 (S$323,465) for OCBC and US$267,900 (S$361,289). This is mainly due to its established presence in Singapore and Hong Kong with market shares, which are major financial centres, estimated at 20.6% and 4.2% respectively.

According to UOB Kay Hian, OCBC and UOB's income per employee grew at a faster CAGR at 4.7% and 5.6% respectively for 2013-17, vs 2.1% for DBS. OCBC’s income per employee stayed flat in 2015 and 2016, possibly held back by the integration of Wing Hang Bank, but had improved 11% ytd in 9M17. UOB’s income per employee has grown steadily at CAGR of 5.6% for 2013-17.

DBS has the highest PPoP per employee at US$232,600 (S$313,701), vs US$135,400 (S$182,703) for OCBC and US$151,500 (S$204,284) for UOB. OCBC and UOB registered faster growth with PPoP per employee expanding at CAGR of 4.4% and 4.9% respectively for 2013-17, vs 2.1% for DBS.

DBS has the smallest workforce at 23,114, whilst OCBC had the largest headcount of 29,161 as of September 2017. UOB has kept headcount relatively unchanged as it maintains an ASEAN-centric footprint and did not partake in any major M&As.

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