It's confirmed. DBS Bank does not consider personal assets exceeding $2 million to be good enough to grant retirees credit limits above the regulatory norm
for their credit cards even though the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has provided for this.
And yet it says it is "in alignment with the MAS regulatory parameters on unsecured credit card limits."
In his reply to my letter asking for an explanation why I could not qualify for a permanent credit limit increase, Mr Anthony Seow, the bank's executive director for Cards and Unsecured Loans, says:
"A bank is indeed permitted to grant credit limits above the regulatory parameters on unsecured credit card limits of 2 months' or 4 months' income to a Singaporean cardholder whose total net personal assets exceed S$2 million or who receives an annual income of at least S$120,000.
"Nonetheless, we also have in place further parameters that govern our respective credit policies and guidelines; these are proprietary to the Bank."
Bottomline? All retirees who do not have an annual income of $120,000 even though they may have assets worth more than $2 million, are not considered risk-worthy and therefore cannot get their credit limit increased without security.
The bank does not care whether a retiree has been a customer for close to 50 years, a Treasures member since its inception (which means the bank would have utilised his fairly substantial deposits over many years, paying pittance in interest) and has never defaulted on his credit card payments.
Why is there this prejudice against retirees who opt to take it easy as they have more than enough personal assets to see them through their sunset years?
Why does the bank need to ask such people to place a minimum of $10,000 in fixed deposit as a security before it is willing to grant their requests?
Why isn't the trust reciprocated as these people have bank deposits that are worth much much more than the $10,000 being asked for?
Where is the convenience promised for Treasures members when a simple request like this one cannot be acceded to?
The irony is that the bank is in fact making it more inconvenient by having its own "proprietory parameters" and yet has the cheek to declare that it is "in alignment with MAS regulatory parameters."
What's even more annoying and mysterious is that the bank had never disclosed the MAS' criterion that it could grant our request based on personal assets until it was told to me by our regulators.
From what I have experienced, DBS' "Living, breathing Asia" tagline leaves me...breathless!!!