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Post Office Savings Bank becomes a statutory board 1st Jan 1972

On 1 January 1972,  the Post Office Savings Bank (POSB)  was turned  into a statutory  corporation by  the government.[1] When Singapore stepped up its industrialisation programme after 1965, then Minister for Finance Goh Keng Swee identified domestic savings as one of the ways to promote the growth of industries. Such savings could provide the government with a non-inflationary source of funds for national development.[2] To promote domestic savings through POSB, the trend of decreasing deposits with the bank had to be reversed. The bank, which was established by the British colonial government in 1877, had been experiencing declining deposits since 1957.[3] As a statutory board, the bank would have more management flexibility and financial freedom to improve its bank operations.[4]

In September 1970, then Minister for Communications Yong Nyuk Lin announced at the first live televised broadcast of the POSB Lucky Draw that the POSB would become a statutory board.[5] The Post Office Savings Bank Bill was subsequently introduced  in parliament  on 30 July 1971,[6] and  the Post  Office Savings Bank of  Singapore Act, 1971,[7] came into effect on 1 January 1972.[8] Following the enactment of the act, the POSB ceased to be a branch of the Postal Services Department. As an independent statutory corporation, POSB was run by a board of directors which was appointed by the Minister for Communications. Tan Chok Kian was named as the first chairman and head of its board, which included seven other directors.[9]

In July 1998, the government announced that the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) would acquire POSB and its various subsidiaries for S$1.6 billion.[10] Then Minister for Finance Richard Hu explained to Parliament that the merger would enable POSB to compete better with full-fledged commercial banks as well as better serve more sophisticated customers. The sale was officially sanctioned by parliament with the passing of the Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore (Transfer of Undertakings and Dissolution) Bill on 12 October 1998.[11] Today, POSB still maintains its distinct identity though it operates as part of the DBS group.[12]

References
1. Republic of Singapore. Government Gazette. Subsidiary Legislation Supplement. (1971, December 10). The Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore Act, 1971 (S 311/1971) (pp. 1054-1055). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RSING 348.5957 SGGSLS.
2. Goh, K. S. (1977). The practice of economic growth (pp. 8–11). Singapore: Federal Publications. Call no.: RSING 330.95957 GOH.
3. Consulton Research Bureau. (1977). The first hundred years of the Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore (p. 16). Singapore: The Post Office Savings Bank. Call no.: RSING 332.22095957 CON.
4. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary Debates: Official Report. (1971, October 19). Second and Third Readings of the Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore Bill (Vol. 31, cols. 342-346). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN.
5. Corporation to run the Postal Savings Bank. (1970, September 20). The Straits Times, p. 8. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from NewspaperSG.
6. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary Debates: Official Report. (1971, July 30). First Reading of the Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore Bill (Vol. 31, col. 57). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN; Debates: Official Report, 19 October 1971, Second and Third Readings, Vol. 31, cols. 342–346.
7. Singapore. Supplement to the Statutes of the Republic of Singapore. (1972). Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore Act 1971 (No. 13 of 1971) (pp. 79–97). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RCLOS 348.5957 SIN.
8. Republic of Singapore. Government Gazette. Subsidiary Legislation Supplement. (1971, December 10). The Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore Act, 1971 (S 311/1971) (pp. 1054–1055). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RSING 348.5957 SGGSLS.
9. Annual report of the Singapore Post Office Savings Bank, 1972 (p. 3). (1973). Singapore: Govt. Printer. Call no.: RCLOS 332.22 SIN.
10. Tan. L. E. (1998, July 25). DBS Bank, POSBank to merge. The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from NewspaperSG.
11. Singapore. Parliament. Parliamentary Debates: Official Report. (1998, October 12). Second and Third Readings of the Post Office Savings Bank of Singapore (Transfer of Undertakings) and Dissolution Bill (Vol. 69, cols. 1024–1056). Singapore: [s.n.]. Call no.: RSING 328.5957 SIN.
12. Development Bank of Singapore. (2011, March 29). About Us. Retrieved October 16, 2013, from DBS website: http://www.dbs.com/dbsgroup/about/default.aspx

 

The information in this article is valid as at 2014 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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