POSB treats foreign account holders better than Singaporean ones

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By: 永久浪客/Forever Vagabond

In the last couple of weeks, netizens have been making noises on social media including on WhatsApp about POSB quietly stopping Singaporeans from applying the regular low-maintenance cost POSB Savings Account.

Essentially, the regular POSB Savings Account (POSB eSavings) would only penalize the account holder if his balance fell below a daily average of $500. A $2 per month fee would be charged in this case.

However, since the end of last month, POSB has quietly removed the POSB eSavings Account service. This is confirmed by its brochure printed last month, May 2016 (https://www.posb.com.sg/iwov-resources/pdf/bank/posb_deposits_guide.pdf):

p1(Note: The date of printing of the brochure can be found on last page)

The same May 2016 brochure also stated that POSB Passbook Savings Account, POSB Save-As-You-Earn Account and POSB Current/eCurrent Account are all no longer available.

The only one it didn’t talk about removing is the POSB Everyday Savings Account, but it is believed that this was a typographical mistake. This is because way back few years ago, the POSB Everyday Savings Account has already been discontinued. This was mentioned in the Sep 2014 brochure (http://www.posb.com.sg/Resources/posb/docs/deposit/posb_deposits_guide.pdf) as well as in the more recent Apr 2016 brochure from its parent DBS (http://www.dbs.com.sg/treasures/landing/e-welcome-pack/pdf/DBS_Treasures_Pricing_Guide.pdf).

In fact, the DBS Apr 2016 brochure still listed the availability of the POSB eSavings Account as at Apr, 2 months ago.

POSB introduces the “Atas” DBS Multiplier Account

A call to POSB hotline at 1800-3396666 has confirmed that POSB no longer allows Singaporeans to apply for the regular POSB eSavings Account.

If Singaporeans need a Savings Account, they would now need to apply for the “DBS Multiplier Account”, according to the POSB operator. For this account, however, one would need to maintain a higher daily average of $3,000. Otherwise, a $5 per month charge will be levied:

p2Special low-maintenance cost savings account for foreigners

Nevertheless, POSB continues to maintain a low-maintenance cost savings account for foreigners. POSB’s website stated (http://www.posb.com.sg/personal/deposits/for-foreigners/posb-payroll-account):

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For foreigners, a $2 fall-below fee will apply if the average daily balance in the account is below $500 for the month, similar to the previous POSB eSavings Account, which is now no longer available to Singaporeans.

DBS/POSB run by former Indian national Piyush Gupta

POSB used to be a statutory board serving the needs of the man-in-the-street. It was subsequently acquired by DBS Bank in 1998 for $1.6 billion.

When it was sold to DBS, the then President Ong Teng Cheong was not informed. He was quite upset with the PAP government as he felt that it was his duty to oversee assets of the state and that he at least should be informed. In a subsequent interview before the former President passed away, he disclosed (http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/02/ong-teng-cheong-i-had-a-job-to-do):

“Even in my last year as president, I was still not being informed about some ministerial procedures. For example, in April last year, the government said it would allow the sale of the Post Office Savings Bank POSB to DBS Bank. In the past, when there was no elected president, they could just proceed with this kind of thing. But when there is an elected president you cannot, because the POSB is a statutory board whose reserves are to be protected by the president. You cannot just announce this without informing him. But I came to know of it from the newspaper. That is not quite right. Not only that, but they were even going to submit a bill to parliament for this sale and to dissolve the POSB without first informing me.”

Later the PAP government roped in many foreign talents to run DBS/POSB. Currently, it is run by CEO Piyush Gupta, a former Indian national turned Singaporean. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. After graduating, he enrolled at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for his Post-Graduate Diploma in Management.

He is also an ambassador for CanKids India (http://www.cankidsindia.org/cankids-advisory-and-ambassadors.html), an Indian national society working with cancer centers for Indian children across India:

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In any case, with Singaporeans no longer able to apply for low-maintenance cost savings account but foreigners still able to, it seems that foreigners are more privileged than Singaporeans in our own country.