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Finance

DBS CEO: New digibank to open in Indonesia by year-end

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's DBS bank plans to launch a digital bank in Indonesia before the end of this year, said CEO Piyush Gupta in a media briefing on Monday.

DBS first launched "digibank by DBS" a mobile app in India early this year. After Indonesia, the service would be gradually rolled out to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Digibanking allows a user to open an account online after which a bank card would be sent for withdrawals and deposits.

DBS has invested nearly 5 billion Singapore dollars ($3.7 billion) in digital strategies -- more than the bank's entire net profit for 2015. In its markets, over 90% of the bank's remittances are done online. In Singapore alone, about 70% of all transactions are digital.

"What we do [with digitalization] is that we experiment with everything. We work with many partners such as A*STAR, IBM and Microsoft to work on a whole range of experiments," Gupta told reporters on Monday.

Gupta said that DBS was also focusing on blockchain technology and its uses. Blockchain technology creates a digital ledger of transactions which can then be shared among a network of computers. Gupta believes that this technology will have a huge impact on trade finance.

"One of the problems of trade finance is that it's very hard to demonstrate the authenticity of documents If we can use Blockchain to get a shared ledger with an authenticated record, that can kill fraud in the trade finance system," he said.

Gupta said that as banking becomes more digitalized, labor will also change significantly. "I think one of the big challenges over the next five years is the nature of employment and banking will be changed dramatically," he noted. "We actively retrain our people so that they can do different kinds of things, because the old jobs will not exist anymore," he said.

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