UOB gives 600 junior staff in S'pore 1-month bonus to cope with rising cost of living

UOB's core net profit soars to record S$6.06 billion in 2023, a 26 per cent increase from 2022's S$4.8 billion.

Winnie Li | February 22, 2024, 02:58 PM



UOB will be giving about 6,000 junior employees an extra month of bonus on a one-off basis to help them "cope with the rising costs of living", announced the bank in a news release on Feb. 22, 2024.

Amongst the eligible employees, 600 of them are in Singapore.

According to the bank, this measure is in line with the latest recommendations by the National Wages Council, which, in addition to the one-off payment, also advised Singapore employers to give their lower-wage workers a payment increment of at least 5.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent in 2024.

Core net profit rose to S$6.1 billion

Besides the one-off payment for its junior employees, UOB also announced that its core net profit for the 2023 financial year (FY), which ended on Dec. 31, 2023, had risen to a record of S$6.06 billion.

This translates to a 26 per cent increase from the bank's core net profit in FY2022, which was S$4.8 billion.

According to UOB, its core net profits in 2023 did not account for its one-off expenses related to the acquisition of Citigroup's Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia consumer banking business, which amounted to S$350 million.

Even when the expenses were included, the bank's net profit exceeded S$5.7 billion, which was another record high for UOB.

Correspondingly, the bank's board recommended the payment of a final dividend of S$0.85 per ordinary share, bringing the total dividend for FY2023 to S$1.70 per ordinary share.

This presents a payout ratio of approximately 50 per cent, said UOB.

Reasons for the strong performance

UOB attributed its record-breaking performance in FY2023 to its "strong income growth" and "an enlarged customer franchise".

Notably, by the end of 2023, the bank said its retail customer count had surpassed 8 million, amongst which 1 million were organic new-to-bank customers.

One factor that contributed to this surge in customers was UOB's partnership with Taylor Swift's Eras Tour in Singapore, which allowed its cardholders to gain privileged access to the concert's pre-sale window and general on-sale reserved ticket allotment in July 2023.

In a media statement issued in the same month, Jacquelyn Tan, head of group personal financial services at UOB, said the daily average UOB credit card applications across Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam in the week of Jun. 21 to 27 had increased by 45 per cent as compared with preceding weeks in June 2023.

Concurrently, debit card applications in Singapore and Vietnam also went up by nearly 130 per cent.

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