United Overseas Bank

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United Overseas Bank Limited
Holding company
(Public limited company)
Traded as SGX: U11
Industry Investment banking, Financial services
Founded July 6, 1935; 80 years ago (1935-07-06)
Founder Wee Kheng Chiang
Headquarters UOB Plaza, Raffles Place, Singapore
Number of locations
500 offices across 19 countries[1]
Area served
Key people
Wee Cho Yaw (Chairman Emeritus and Adviser)
Hsieh Fu Hua (Chairman)
Wee Ee Cheong (Deputy Chairman and CEO)
Increase S$2.569.000.000 (2006)
Number of employees
Slogan "United for Growth"
Website www.uobgroup.com
United Overseas Bank's main branch, located at the scenic UOB Plaza

United Overseas Bank Limited (commonly known as UOB; simplified Chinese: 大华银行有限公司; traditional Chinese: 大華銀行有限公司; pinyin: Dàhuá Yínháng Yǒuxìan Gōngsī;) is a Singaporean multinational banking organisation headquartered in Singapore, with branches mostly found in most Southeast Asian countries. Founded in 1935 as United Chinese Bank (UCB) by Sarawak businessman Wee Kheng Chiang, the bank was set up together with a group of Chinese-born businessmen. The bank is the third largest bank in South East Asia by total assets.[2]

UOB provides commercial and corporate banking services, personal financial services, private banking and other asset management services, as well as corporate finance, venture capital, investment, and insurance services. It has 68 branches in Singapore and a network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America[1]


On August 6, 1935, businessman Wee Kheng Chiang, together with six other friends, established the bank after raising S$1 million. The bank was named United Chinese Bank (UCB) to emphasize its links to the Chinese population in Singapore. On October 1935, UCB opened for business in the three story Bonham Building.[3] In 1965, the bank was renamed to United Overseas Bank and opened its first overseas branch in Hong Kong.[4]

In 1970, UOB was listed on the Joint Stock Exchange of Singapore and Malaysia, at that time which Singapore did not have its own stock exchange. After it was publicly listed, the bank went through a series of targeted acquisitions. The bank first acquired Chung Khiaw Bank in 1971, which expanded its domestic presence and also gave the bank offices in Malaysia and Hong Kong. In 1973, UOB then acquired Lee Wah Bank, which provided services in Malaysia and Singapore. In that same year, the bank built a new 30 storey office tower in place of the Bonham Building, which was named the UOB Building (now known as UOB Plaza 2).[5] The company continued with acquisitions, with Far Eastern Bank in 1984, Westmont Bank (now known as UOB Philippines) and Radanasin Bank (now known as United Overseas Bank (Thai) Public Company Limited) in 1999. The bank then took over the Overseas Union Bank Limited (OUB) in a takeover deal estimated to be worth S$10 billion in 2001.

In 2002, UOB started expanding into the Chinese market by opening a new full service branch office in Shanghai and upgrading of its Beijing office to a full service branch.[6]

International operations[edit]

UOB has branches and offices located across Asia Pacific, North America and Western Europe, with most of their operations located mainly in Southeast Asian countries such as Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Asia Pacific[edit]


Headquartered in the UOB Building in Sydney, UOB Australia opened its first branch in MLC Centre as a merchant bank in 1986 to emphasize on trade and financing between Australia and Asia.[7] The bank now has offices in Melbourne and Brisbane, in addition to the branch in Sydney and currently offers merchant bank services comprising current accounts, deposits, lending, asset finance, trade finance, structured finance, cash management, and cross-border payments.[8]


UOB's operations in Brunei was originally started in 1974, under Overseas Union Bank (OUB). When UOB acquired the Overseas Union Bank in January 2002, the operations of the branches in Brunei was handed over to UOB. On October 1, 2005, the bank relocated its branch office in Bandar Seri Begawan.[9]

In 2015, UOB sold its retail banking business to Baiduri Bank Berhad for S$65.044 million. The bank currently provides a full range of commercial and corporate banking services through the branch located in the country. It also operates UOB Asset Management in Brunei, which offers investment management expertise to individuals, institutions and corporations.[10]


One of UOB's branches in Hong Kong

Operations in China first started in 1984, with a representative office in Beijing. Incorporated on December 18, 2007 as UOB (China) and headquartered in Shanghai, UOB has 17 branches and sub-branches strategically located in major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Xiamen, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Suzhou and Chongqing offering retail and wholesale banking services.[11]

Hong Kong

UOB opened its first overseas branch in Hong Kong in 1965, with the branch mainly focusing on trade financing and corporate banking.[12] The bank currently has 3 branches, with a main branch offering full personal and corporate banking services.



UOB Indonesia branch head office in Jakarta.





South Korea[edit]



UOB Thailand branch headquarters located at the Robot Building in Bangkok.


North America[edit]



Western Europe[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]


Subsidiaries and joint ventures[edit]

All subsidiaries are headquartered in UOB Plaza, Singapore

  • Far Eastern Bank Limited
  • UOB Bullion and Futures Limited
  • UOBBF Clearing Limited
  • United Overseas Insurance Limited
  • UOB Asia Investment Partners Pte. Ltd.
  • UOB Asset Management Ltd
  • UOB-SM Asset Management Pte. Ltd.
  • UOB Venture Management Private Limited
Joint ventures
  • United Orient Capital Pte. Ltd
  • UOB-Kay Hian Holdings Limited

Mobile banking[edit]

In December 2011, United Overseas Bank launched its free mobile UOB Mobile application. Mobile Cash, a key feature of this application, allows all UOB customers to send cash to any registered recipient who can withdraw the money from more than 600 UOB ATMs in Singapore. Initially only available on the Apple Appstore, the application soon became available to users of Android and Blackberry smartphones.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Our Corporate File". United Overseas Bank Limited. Retrieved 2010-12-04. 
  2. ^ "ForbesG2000". Retrieved 5 July 2015. 
  3. ^ "United Overseas Bank Heritage Trails Singapore. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  4. ^ Lim, Richard, "A Few Good Men," Straits Times, August 12, 2002. Retrieved November 15, 2015
  5. ^ "It's Always the Next Deal," South China Morning Post, May 13, 2002. Retrieved November 15, 2015
  6. ^ Montlake, Simon, "Singapore Bankers Take the Plunge," Banker, August 2002, p. 45. Retrieved November 15, 2015
  7. ^ "UOB chairman opens Sydney merchant bank today". The Business Times, 29 July 1986, Page 6. NewspaperSG. 1986. Retrieved November 16, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Company Overview of UOB Australia Limited". Bloomberg. 
  9. ^ "Brunei Office Re-locates To Serve You Better" (PDF). UOB Group. October, 2005. Retrieved November 16, 2015.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ "Singapore: UOB sells Brunei retail banking business to Baiduri Bank for $46.6m". Deal Street Asia. October, 2015.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "About UOB China". UOB. 
  12. ^ Lee, 2003, p. 162; Tai, 2010, pp. 471–472; Steady growth hallmark of the UOB story. (2003, October 20). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
  13. ^ "UOB launches mobile banking app". Financial News Publishing Limited. December 19, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2012. 

External links[edit]