iProperty.com Singapore and iCompareLoan.com put together a list of financial institute based largely on Home and Commercial loans. These service providers have been nominated in the iProperty People’s Choice award and they are:

Bank of China





They are reviewed according to the following categories:

•History & Legacy

•Brand Perception

•Loan Package Innovation


•Customer Service

Bank of China

History & Legacy (source: wikipedia, www.iCompareLoan.com)

Bank of China (BOC) Singapore Branch started its operation at Cecil Street in 1936, way before many of the Singapore’s local banks. Today, it has over RMB 6,951.68 Billion in assets, making it part of the Fortune Global 500 for the past 17 years.

It is the No.2 lender in China, the No.1 lender to non-institutions and the No.1 Foreign Exchange lender.

It ranks consistently amongst the Number 2 or Number 3 within China in Tier 1 capital.

Brand perception

Bank of China is seen as a very strong brand in China and Hong Kong. However in Singapore the perception of the bank is slightly undervalued. Security is a question that many wonder on. Newly converted Singapore citizens (originally from China) also tend to favor the local banks more.

Loan package innovation

Bank of China’s foray into the home loan market is relatively new. Their main focus is on home loans with limited but growin presence into the commercial loans. It is audacious and will hit the market like a storm on some of the packages when need be.

Bank of China is currently the only bank that allows free switching between SIBOR and SOR base rates that allows you to take advantage of lower rates from either the SIBOR or SOR.

One of the first banks to offer free conversion benefit, allowing clients to switch to any other available package without incurring any charges.

Offers Bilingual (English & Chinese) application form and marketing materials.


Consistently competitive amongst the other banks. At one time, Bank of China offered a package so good that there was a waiting list and it extends its processing time to 6 to 8 weeks.

Customer Service

As Bank of China is still new with limited number of branches, the customer service is entirely dependent on individual bankers. Bank of China’s systems and operations are reported by our customers to be more manual and backwards. The previous processing time of 6 to 8 weeks led to customer complaints also adds to perceived bad customer service, although that has to be taken in the proper context as that was due to overwhelming response to a promotion. There is also a perceived weakness in Customer Relationship Management.


History & Legacy (Source: Wikipedia, www.iCompareLoan.com)

DBS was founded in 1968

The current DBS bank came out of an acquisition of Postbank in Nov 1998. DBS has the highest number of branches in Singapore.

DBS is a leading financial services group in Asia, with over 200 branches across 15 markets. The bank’s strong capital position, as well as “AA-” and “Aa1″ credit ratings are among the highest in the Asia-Pacific region, earning Global Finance’s “Safest Bank in Asia” accolade for five consecutive years, from 2009 to 2013.

DBS market capitalization is SGD$41.42 billion as at 12 Nov 2013 according to Bloomberg and is ranked 5th safest bank in the world despite it’s relatively small asset base (by Bloomberg Markets Magazine)

Brand perception

DBS is often viewed as the strongest bank in Singapore despite its relatively short history since 1968.

Many new Permanent Residents (PR) and New Citizens hold DBS in high regards, or for that matter, Singapore local banks in high regard. Due to DBS over-arching presence, many people feel that they cannot go wrong with the “biggest” bank in Singapore.

Loan package innovation

DBS is one of the banks that change their rates frequently. Their innovative ideas includes the 2years + 2years fixed rates and more. It has also created special packages that bundles mortgage insurance into these packages (though not always well-received by customers).

There are other innovations such as the SIBOR based packages with interest rate cap at 1.49% for those who wants to take advantage of cheaper rates through SIBOR while afraid of interest rate moving upwards beyond control.

In short, DBS is an innovator amongst the other banks.


They do not always have the best rate but almost always in contention amongst the best.

Bundles not always welcomed by customers.

Customer Service

As the bank has many branches and bankers, it is convenient for many customers to walk in for any service. However as DBS bankers handle high volumes, the level of service to some extend depends on bankers themselves.


History & Legacy (Source: Wikipedia, www.iCompareLoan.com)

Maybank started operating in Singapore as a Fully Licensed commercial bank in Dec 1960.

Maybank, a trade name for Malayan Banking Berhad is the largest bank in Malaysia with significant banking operations in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. The bank also has large interests in Islamic banking and insurance via its Etiqa subsidiary.

Maybank is the largest bank in Malaysia with 401 domestic branches. It is the largest listed company on the Malaysian Stock Exchange, Bursa Malaysia, with a market capitalisation of RM77.6 billion (USD25.4 billion) as at 31 December 2012.

Maybank is a qualifying full bank (QFB) in Singapore. According to Maybank’s website, they have 27 service locations in Singapore and 22 branches. Maybank is also part of ATM network with 6 QFB reaching more than 130 locations.

As at December 2012, Maybank’s total assets in Singapore were S$36.4 billion. With 1,400 employees, they are well positioned to provide highly-personalised services and locally-oriented approaches, which will further enhance the Bank’s standing in the local banking scene. (Source: Maybank)

Brand perception

Increasingly through our contacts with clients, many people are not aware that Maybank originated from Malaysia. They have integrated well into Singapore banking scene and is seen as part and parcel of the Singapore banking fabric. For Malaysians working in Singapore, many also hold Maybank bank accounts as its their preferred bank.

Many customers tend to view Maybank favourably with some noting that “Maybank offers the best packages, right?” This is probably due to the aggressive promotion of bank loans and packages that Maybank executes once a year.

Loan package innovation

Maybank launches an aggressive promotion once a year and it always causes a stir in the market. Their competitors will scramble to respond to their campaign in bid to keep their customer from straying to Maybank. The promotion garners a lot of response from the market that enforces and solidifies Maybank as the preferred innovator.

Generally considered a market mover in terms of loan package surprise factor.


Highly competitive when it chooses to be, otherwise responds sporadically to competition.

Maybank’s Commercial property loan packages are also fairly consistently and well-placed to serve commercial buyers.

Customer Service

There have been no major complaints from our clients using Maybank home loans or commercial loans. Malaysians who works in Singapore or Singaporeans needing to travel frequently to Malaysia will likely encounter a lot of convenience such as using the largest ATM network in Malaysia and debit cards that can draw money in various currencies in the region.


History & Legacy (Source: Wiki)

OCBC is one of Singapore’s top 3 banks and ranked as World’s Strongest Bank by Bloomberg Markets in 2012.

OCBC Bank was founded out of the Great Depression with the merger of three banks in 1932 – the Chinese Commercial Bank(1912), the Ho Hong Bank(1917) and the Oversea-Chinese Bank (1919). The bank’s name is often incorrectly spelled, but is in fact a predominantly British usage of the word more commonly spelled as “overseas”.

The combined entity prospered under the management of local business and community leaders, notably DatoLee Kong Chian(1938–1964), Tan SriTan Chin Tuan(1966–1983) and MrLee Choon Seng(acting Chairman during the Occupation), eventually becoming one of the largest banks in Singapore andMalaysia. In 1942 all the local banks in Singapore closed briefly during the early days of the Japanese Occupation. By April 1942 most, including OCBC, had reopened. OCBC Bank was one of only four foreign banks to have branches in China in the 1950s.

Brand perception

OCBC is viewed favourably as one of the top 3 banks in Singapore.

OCBC viewed as more dominant amongst the small business segment with many businesses holding an OCBC banking account.

Before TDSR rules came into play, OCBC was viewed as the bank with the fastest bank loan processing time.

Loan package innovation

OCBC initiated some of the innovative loan packages such as Mortgage Choices to help young couples manage their installment cash flow.

Previously there was an Asset-based lending criteria targeting segments of the property loan market that was successful.

All-in-all, a bank with highly innovative loan package bundling.


OCBC’s banking staffs are highly ctompetitive. They can be seen actively building networks and channels. They visit showrooms and property launches.

One of OCBC’s key competitiveness is its large network of property agents. OCBC’s loan packages may not be the best in the market, but this is made up by great customer service.

Customer Service

OCBC customer service is applaudable. Convenience of branches, access to ATM networks, fast processing times are some of the attributes of OCBC services.


History & Legacy (Source: Wikipedia)

United Overseas Bank Limited (commonly known as UOB) is a major banking organisation headquartered inSingapore, with branches mostly found in most South-east Asian countries. Founded in 1935 by Sarawak businessman Wee Kheng Chiang, the bank has 68 branches in Singapore and a network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories inAsia Pacific,Western Europe and North America.

Brand perception

UOB is viewed as a very strong bank

Throughout the bank’s history of mergers and acquisitions, including beating out DBS to merge with OUB, the bank is viewed as an aggressive acquirer.

For the home loan and commercial loan segment, the bank also ranks highly in the brand perception stakes and is one of the banks favoured by property agents.

Loan package innovation

In the past where banks were allowed to tie up closely with developers, UOB has many such tie-ups and offers amongst the best rates for specific niches.

It is also one of the pioneers who embraced interest-only financing and 50 years loan tenure in the past.


Not the most competitive in bank package rates, but have an extremely strong networks with property agencies and agents.

It is often the property agent’s preferred bank as the bank is willing to take more risk to match higher valuations asked by developers.

Customer Service

The feedback garnered on UOB customer service are generally positive. Customers are thankful for the fact that UOB are more aggressive in financing a higher quantum where allowed.

Now that you have been presented with the choice for Best Home Mortgage Loan Provider, who will you vote for? Cast your vote at www.iproperty.com.sg/awards and stand a chance to win a 3D2N stay at Movenpick Hotel Saigon, Cebu or iBisStyles Kuala Lumpur!


For free advice about Singapore home loans and a free home loan report (TM), go here.

About Property Buyer


We are a research-focused Singapore mortgage consultancy which helps you compare Singapore home loans either for new loans or refinancing. We use loan reports from Singapore’s best loan analysis system (exclusive to us) at http://www.icompareloan.com/consultant/ to serve our customers.

Our services are completely FREE to you as the banks pay us a referral fee upon loan disbursement.

Paul Ho is the editor of www.PropertyBuyer.com.sg, www.iCompareloan.com and www.SingaporeHomeLoan.net and he holds a Masters of Business Administration from a reputable university. He is passionate about helping people enhance their wealth through financial literacy and in making money work harder for them.

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