Saturday, 9 March 2013

My First Saving Account - POSB

I opened my first bank account at Post Office Savings Bank (POSB) when I was in primary school. In those days, we could buy postage stamps from our form teacher and paste them onto a card. That was the "Save at School" card with empty boxes where you could paste the stamps. After completing the stamp card, the teacher would collect it, hand it to the bank and deposit into our POSB account.

POSB was also a pioneer in a number of industry innovations, such as the GIRO electronic payment system, direct salary crediting and the automated teller machine (ATM), of which it had the largest network. POSB was truly the "people's bank" then.

After I started working, I continued to use POSB for all my banking transactions, including salary crediting, GIRO, current account with free cheque book, NETS, etc. POSB at those days was also the only bank with tax exemptions on interest paid to savers.

The "people's bank" came to an end in 1998 when POSB was brought over by DBS. Over the next few years, DBS came out with several measures that destroyed POSB's long held image of the "people's bank".

The introduction of monthly service fees for small accounts drew great unhappiness for many people, as depositors were incensed that DBS would sacrifice poor Singaporeans for its bottom line.

Then, DBS started charging monthly service for current accounts and we also have to pay for new cheque book issuance.

A government tax change also meant that POSB was no longer the only bank with tax exemptions on interest paid to savers.

Many Singaporeans spoke against the merger and against POSB's new parent, DBS.

I have closed my current account with POSB immediately and over the years, also transferred my salary crediting, GIRO payments, to other banks. I just maintain my POSB saving account with a small sum over the minimum sum, so that I can still use the POSB/DBS ATM network when necessary.

I have this irrational dislike for DBS that over the years, I do not have any account (other than the original POSB account), credit card, or any other products by DBS.

This really prevents me from buying into the toxic DBS high notes during the Lehman's saga.

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