21 April 2009

DBS Bank's public hanging

Every day, companies have staff disciplinary issues. Yet, when DBS Bank had an issue with its vice-president in charge of the credit card division, it issued statements to the media. Why did DBS consider the case of Josie Lau and AWARE so serious? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Pro gay or anti gay, DBS should just sack her for blatant misconduct. However, I think they are just afraid to offend some of their customers if they sack her. Well, this is the first time I sympathize with the position of DBS.

Anonymous said...

Definitely more than meets the eye. On the CNA interview on Sunday 19 April, Josie stated that she was still "in discussion" with DBS over her misconduct. So the Friday internal review she had with her bosses on 17 April was trumpeted by her chain gang church members in AWARE as being over as reported in ST & they went out for drinks. Again, notice the white lies told.

The choice of her words on CNA "in discussion" would be a euphemism for the strong stand she takes against her company's code of conduct if her AWARE crusade is far larger than her company's bottom line. DBS going public is the right thing to do cos it needs to alert the public that she has her own agenda. Which means, she may have done this kind of thing before, going behind bosses back to crusade for her own agenda.

Would not be surprised that DBS can drag on this review of Josie till, if it ever happens, their appointed executive search firm hires her replacement of course discreetly without her knowledge, after all that's what executive search firms do. After all in a recession, talent abounds aplenty.

Anonymous said...

Totally hypothetical - DBS could have easily got rid of Josie Lau after her publicly defiant conduct. What's holding them back? Could it be that there is substantial fundamentalist Christian money in DBS bank accounts that can be terminated should Josie Lau be sacked? If the gay community can do that, what's stopping the radical religious camp who has tonnes more money?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12.35pm,

thats a great point. What hold does Josie have on DBS that it cannot immediately let Josie go?

I'm sure many of us in the private sector work in orgs where we can be told to leave within the next 2 hours - to clear out your table and be escorted out, most times with a security guard next to you.

But they are still "in discussion", despite having already been warned by the company that they do not condone her activity.

It could be that the church, and plenty of other pro-life churches hold their money with DBS. But could there also be something even more sinister...?


Anonymous said...


I am quite certain the JL faction has an agenda that will unfold in due course.

But, JL is actually not the 'ring leader'. She was just someone merely nominally prepared to take over as president so that the rest of the group can have its way. The ring leader is really someone else.

wayang times said...

Wow this is a well written analysis of the situation.

I think DBS will probably take the most practical approach to handle the situation, cos after all they are a profit driven bank.

But I think DBS will probably not just let Josie go, because she is after all holding a pretty senior position, and I assume handling heavy responsibilities. A good company would probably try to reach a good compromise with its staff first.

The said...

/// wayang times said...
But I think DBS will probably not just let Josie go, because she is after all holding a pretty senior position, and I assume handling heavy responsibilities. ///

wayang times - nah, that is baloney. VPs are a dime a dozen at DBS. There are literally hundreds of them. There are tons of people above here - SVPS, EVPs, MDs and Senior MDs. Before Koh Boon Hwee started to cull them, there were more than a hundred MDs. And there are hundreds of VP peers. See can be sacked in an hour's notice and the performance of her department would immediately IMPROVE.

Anonymous said...

DBS should just fire her for telling a lie, flouting company rules wilfully, and putting the bank in an embarrassing position, to the point of damaging the bank's relationship with customers.

Anonymous said...

There is a deluge of people with SVP grades from failed financial institutions on Wall St. and there are thousands of grads without a job. DBS should and must sack JL thereby doing society one small favour.

wayang times said...

@The - Errmm ok. i din noe that. i'm not from the banking sector, but thx for the info.

btw r there any ladies/guys here who r joining AWARE and attending their EOGM in May to provide support to the old guards?

You can check out their latest news at their facebook account here:

I did this funny AWARE video sub of the movie 300 to express my bit of support:

Anonymous said...

Not only have they not been involved in AWARE's work before, from what we know, they have not even spoken up on women's issues before.Just to address the above. Irene Yee has been featured in some women's magazine for articles on financial planning before. Sorry, I did not keep track of the name of magazine or the date of articles. FYI, Irene Yee used to work at DBS until late-2008. However, she was from a non-related department from Josie Lau, so they may not really know each other at the bank.

I personally suspected some link between the DBS FOTF fiasco once I read that Josie Lau is the VP in-charge of credit cards. If that contributes to the reason for the 2 strongly-worded DBS press releases (overtly over Josie's flouting of bank's code), then DBS' refusal to be forthright about the FOTF fiasco link will only make them look like petty employers to the casual observer.

While VP sounds like a high position, in reality VPs are a dime-a-dozen in any bank. This is especially in certain departments where grand titles are used to win potential clients' confidence. In addition, there are many banking staff that have other interests outside of the work, without declaring it to their employers. The difference is that many of these staff are wise enough to keep private matters private and avoid any conflicts of interest, as any professional will.

Anonymous said...

Josie Lau was obviously lying on CNA. Isn't "Thou Shalt Not Lie" one of the ten commandments? If Lee Kuan Yew can call Chee Soon Juan a liar, Singaporeans can also hold Lau to account for lacking in integrity and unfit to be a leader.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous on 24 April, 2009 02:26:

There was another commandment that they have broken: "Thou shalt not covet they neighbour's goods."

Hello, but feminism is the intellectual property of feminists, and not that of women from a church whose website explicitly states its opposition to feminism.

Haven't Josie and gang not only coveted but outright trampled on their neighbour's goods.

Aren't they coveting their neighbou

DBS customer said...

Yes, DBS should have just sacked her. She has broken its code of conduct twice over. Moreover, it is clear that after taking over the helm of AWARE, her ineffective management has brought the organisation into disrepute, and people are simply disgusted with her secretive and crude management style, and her facile resort to blatant lying to advance her own ends. Is this the kind of person who holds a senior position in the bank?? I am a DBS and POSBank customer over several decades, and I am extremely disappointed with the bank's lack of firmness in dealing with this person, who has undoubtdely brought the reputation of the bank down to its knees.