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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has taken the significant step of barring DBS Bank from pursuing new business ventures for a period of six months. This move follows several instances of DBS’ digital banking services experiencing downtime, with a notable disruption occurring on October 14.

  • Ban Details: While under the ban, DBS is restricted from making non-essential modifications to its IT systems. The only exceptions allowed are changes related to enhancing security measures. DBS is also prohibited from downsizing its branch and ATM networks within Singapore, according to a statement issued by MAS.
  • Word of Advice: Ho Hern Shin, MAS’ Deputy Managing Director for Financial Supervision, emphasized that DBS needs to implement instant measures to assure service reliability while simultaneously investing in long-term initiatives to strengthen operational resilience.
  • Past Penalties: Since 2022, DBS has been penalized with fines amounting to $1.2B by the regulator due to disruptions in digital banking. However, MAS expressed satisfaction with DBS’ remedial plan and mentioned that senior management would be held accountable for the lapses.
  • Impact of Ban: The MAS directive might impact DBS’ partnerships with industry leaders like the Chinese fintech giant Ant Group and JP Morgan, as per insider sources reported by The Wall Street Journal.

After the six-month period, MAS will assess the progress made by DBS in its improvement efforts. While the regulator might decide to extend the ban or introduce further measures, DBS is required to apply a 1.8x multiplier to its risk-weighted assets for operational risk. This measure was introduced following incidents in March and May 2023.

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