DBS (Development Bank of Singapore) is the largest Singapore-registered bank by assets and one of the most important financial institutions in Asia. While more difficult to work with than OCBC, it is nevertheless an interesting option for non-residents looking to bank in the city-state.
Review and how to open an account
DBS has been around for decades and is a very solid bank, backed by the Singapore government and partly-owned by Citibank and a number of other prominent banks. It offers a wide range of products and services, covering the needs of both businesses and individuals. It also offers wealth management services via its private banking arm.
As a result of regulatory pressure both in Singapore and abroad, it has become fairly difficult to open accounts with DBS as a non-resident. It is not impossible, however, and for those determined enough, it remains an excellent choice especially if based in the region.
While it is technically possible to open an account remotely, a physical visit to the bank will be required in nearly every cases. You will need to bring along a proof of identity, a proof of address (dated within the last 90 days) and a mobile phone number. Singapore citizens and permanent residents will also need their NRIC (FIN for temporary residents). To improve your chances, bring a letter of recommendation from a bank with whom you have had an account for at least two years (addressed to DBS). Your documents must be in English, if they are not they must be translated in Singapore by a bank-approved translator. There is no need to pre-arrange an appointment with the bank, simply show up at a branch with your documents. There is no minimum deposit for a personal multi-currency account. With that said, as a non-resident, you will need to deposit a significant sum to convince the bank to open the account (I recommend at least 100000 SGD or equivalent). You will also need to provide a proof of origin for the funds deposited. There is no monthly fee if the minimum balance of 3000 SGD is maintained and if not, the fee is 7.50 SGD. Accounts are usually opened on the spot, with the debit card printed in-branch. You should register for online banking before you leave Singapore as this involves a series of two-factor authentication calls and texts.
Increase your chances
DBS has become very difficult to work with as a non-resident. A trick that has worked for some members and that will increase your chance is to first open a brokerage account with DBS and then ask the brokerage division to sponsor your bank account opening.