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Chung Khiaw Bank is founded 1947

Chung Khiaw Bank was incorporated in 1947 during the post-war period.[1] Aw Boon Haw, a philanthropist, was the founder and first chairman of the bank’s board of directors. He had envisioned the bank to be one for the “small man” that would serve all segments of the population, especially the middle class.[2] The bank started operation on 4 February 1950 at 59 Robinson Road.[3]

The bank introduced several innovative ideas in order to remain competitive at a time when more local banks were being set up. For instance, it printed promotion pamphlets in the four main languages (English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil), thus deviating from the traditional practice of only targeting a particular Chinese dialect group.[4]  In 1958, the bank introduced the hugely popular “piggy” bank concept, which encouraged children below 12 years old to save money in metal savings boxes designed in interesting animal shapes such as the rhinoceros, camel, elephant and squirrel.[5] The bank also introduced a mobile banking service and the All Ladies Bank, which was manned by female staff.[6]

To stave off the competition from foreign banks, many small local banks merged or were taken over by bigger banks. In June 1972, the United Overseas Bank completed its takeover of Chung Khiaw Bank,[7] thus closing the chapter on the bank’s short but illustrious history. 

1. Bank looking for premises. (1947, November 17). The Singapore Free Press, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. New bank will aid the small man. (1949, December 30). The Straits Times, p. 7; Steady progress all through the years. (1971, February 4). The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
3. Untitled. (1950, February 1). The Straits Times, p. 7; The Straits Times, 4 Feb 1971, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Tan, C. H. (2005). Financial markets and institutions in Singapore (p. 52). Singapore: Singapore University Press. Call no.: RSING 332.1095957 TAN.
5. The $3.5 mil. success story of Singapore’s ‘piggy’ bank. (1960, February 7). The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. The Straits Times, 4 Feb 1971, p. 6.
7. Soh, T. K. (1973, January 15). Now local banks join the takeover game. The Straits Times, p.13; Chung Khiaw accepts takeover offer by UOB. (1972, June 17). The Straits Times, p. 21. Retrieved from NewspaperSG


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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