4-hour queues at some S'pore banks as high 2.7% interest rate for fixed deposits draws crowds

Big money.

Belmont Lay | September 13, 2022, 12:00 PM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates: https://t.me/mothershipsg

Major banks have raised interest rates, and people in Singapore obviously love it.

Long queues at some banks

Many potential depositors were seen queuing up on site on Sep. 9, Friday morning to learn about the latest preferential interest rates for fixed deposits.

According to Lianhe Zaobao, 20 people were seen in line outside the United Overseas Bank branch at Toa Payoh Central.

About eight or nine people were queuing up at DBS Bank, OCBC Bank, and Maybank in Toa Payoh and Bishan.

Those in line who were interviewed said they had showed up as they wanted to find out more about preferential fixed deposit rates, if any, and park their money there.

A fixed deposit, otherwise known as a time or term deposit, allows one to earn a guaranteed amount of interest for a lump sum of money deposited with a bank over a specified duration.

Customers cannot withdraw this money before the so-called “lock-in” duration is over, unlike regular savings accounts.

Up to four hours

Queues to get to the bank counter have variously been reported to be between two to four hours long, according to Zaobao and Bloomberg.

One woman, Bloomberg reported, found out there were 79 customers ahead of her when she tried to open a fixed deposit account for her parents during her lunch break at UOB branch in the central business district.

Photo by Mothership, queue situation at NEX on Sep. 6.

What customers are saying

A 31-year-old financial analyst queuing outside a UOB branch in the heartlands told the Chinese media: "My husband told me to go to the bank to ask for more information after seeing the news that the banks raised interest rates."

"We will consider adding more money to the fixed deposit account, if it is worthwhile.”

Another 49-year-old woman, who is an accountant, said she usually compares the interest rates of different banks, but also noted that loan interest rates have also been adjusted, which may be a burden for those who have taken loans.

Another person in the queue said the Singapore government's 6-month and 1-year Treasury bills (T-bills), which are short-term Singapore Government Securities (SGS) issued at a discount to their face value, are more attractive than fixed deposits.

Promotions at banks

Separately, CNA reported that several banks in Singapore have rolled out promotions.

Rates in September 2022 are going as high as 2.6 per cent for a 12-month fixed deposit and 2.7 per cent for 24 months.

To enjoy promotional rates, most lenders require minimum placements of S$20,000.

UOB has been among the more aggressive banks, adjusting its fixed-deposit promotions monthly and offering one of the highest rates, according to CNA.

For September, the promotional rate for a 10-month fixed deposit is 2.4 per cent, up from 1.6 per cent a month ago.

The 12-month rate is 2.6 per cent, likely the highest as of Sep. 5.

Top photo via Shin Min Daily News Facebook