Comprehensive SWOT Analysis of UOB – A Singaporean Multinational Bank

Updated on: Mar 29, 2022

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Formerly we discussed the SWOT analysis of U.S. Bank, let us now throw some light on the SWOT analysis of UOB – One of the top-rated banks in the world. 

UOB – United Overseas Bank Limited is a leading Singaporean situated multinational banking corporation. The bank has most of its branches in Southeast Asian countries. UOB is limited to Asian markets but what’s great to know is that the bank clearly understands those markets, their corporate culture and business mindsets, which is not easy to match by others.

Another factor that has helped UOB become the juggernaut it is today is its marketing tactics. Marketing is evolving as the world moves online, and if you want to stay up to date, check out our Free MasterClass on Digital Marketing 101 taught by Karan Shah, the CEO and Founder of IIDE.

Do you want to know how UOB was able to achieve such success in the banking industry? We shall study the SWOT analysis of UOB and discover the solution in this blog. But first, let’s study more about UOB as a firm, its foundation, products, financial situation, and competitors.

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About UOB

SWOT Analysis of UOB - UOB

One of Singapore’s top financial institutions, United Overseas Bank (UOB) provides a range of commercial banking and personal financial services. The bank’s offerings include asset management, private equity fund management and insurance services. It is also one of the largest capital market issuers in the Asia-Pacific region. Altogether, the bank has more than 500 branches and 1.3 million ATMs in almost 20 countries. Most of UOB’s revenue comes from South Asian markets.

On 6 August 1935, financial specialist Wee Kheng Chiang, along with six different companions, set up the bank in the wake of raising S$1 million. The bank was named United Chinese Bank (UCB) to stress its connect to the Chinese populace in Singapore. In October 1935, UCB got started in the three-story Bonham Building. In 1965, the bank was renamed United Overseas Bank (Chinese name unaltered) to keep away from duplication with one more United Chinese Bank in Hong Kong conventional Chinese and opened its first abroad branch in Hong Kong.

Today, UOB has a strong foothold in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China and it is well-placed to create greater access and growth in this region, for its customers.

Quick Stats on UOB
Founder Wee Kheng Chiang
Year Founded 1935
Origin Singapore
No. of Employees 24,800+
Company Type Public
Market Cap $39.62 Billion (2022)
Annual Revenue US$9,259 Million (2020)
Net Income/ Profit S$4.07 Billion (2021)


SWOT Analysis of UOB - UOB ATMs

Product & Services by UOB

Being one of the oldest banks in the world:

  • Commercial & corporate banking services
  • Personal financial services
  • Private banking and asset management services
  • Corporate finance
  • Venture capital
  • Investment
  • Insurance services

Competitors of UOB 

Being one the largest banks to be rated in the top 10 in the Asian market, it still has a lot of competitors all over the world. Below are the top competitors of UOB:

  • Bank of China Limited
  • Overseas-Chinese Banking Corp.Ltd
  • DBS Group Holding Ltd.
  • Standard Chartered PLC
  • HSBC Holdings PLC
  • Hong Leong Finance Limited

Now that we have seen the history of the company, Let us move to the structured SWOT analysis of UOB. 

SWOT Analysis of UOB

SWOT analysis of UOB analyzes its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It deals with two factors: internal and external. Strength and weakness are based on internal factors whereas opportunities and threats rely on external factors of the bank.

To better understand the SWOT analysis of UOB, refer to the infographics below.

SWOT Analysis of UOB - SWOT Infographics of UOB

Below is a step-by-step detailed guide to help you with the SWOT analysis of UOB.

Strengths of UOB

Strengths are the firm’s capabilities and resources that it can use to design, develop, and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

  • Range & Spread: UOB has a wide distribution network of 68 branches in Singapore and a network of more than 500 offices in 19 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific, Western Europe and North America that ensuring its services are easily accessible to a large number of consumers in a timely way across the whole country.
  • Number of Acquisitions: The bank has acquired several big companies in the course of its journey including 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 and things went on with UOB continuing with acquisitions.
  • Sustainability: The group is working towards South East Asia’s sustainable development by bringing emerging sustainable programmes like Vision 2045 in which the bank is working on driving sustainable finance in Southeast Asia for a greener future. Such sustainable developments show the devotion of the group towards the country.
  • Broad Range of Portfolio: One biggest strength that UOB has is that it offers a wide range of financial and consulting services to its customers ranging from investment banking, asset management, private banking and insurance.
  • Automation of Activities: Successful automation of banking activities with a well-developed IT structure and Infrastructure has made the overall efficiency better.    
  • Mobile App & Digital Banking: UOB has a reliable mobile banking application through which one can easily send cash to any registered recipient with UOB who can withdraw the money from more than 600 UOB ATMs in Singapore. Also, recently in February 2021, the bank launched the first mobile-only bank named TMRW in Southeast Asian regions to boost digital banking investments over the next five years.
  • Strong Digital Marketing Strategy: With a very strong online presence on every social media site and fast-forward digital initiatives through digital banking, UOB has built a strong customer relationship. Want to learn the digital marketing strategies which UOB used? Then you must check out & enrol in our 13+ short term courses in digital marketing to get the benefits you want.
  • Diversified and Highly Skilled Workforce: Diverse people, perspectives and ideas have helped UOB to build a strong, dedicated and connected workforce. Additionally, the organisation has been investing huge resources in the development and mentoring of its employees.

Weaknesses of UOB

A company’s weaknesses keep it from realising its greatest potential. To assist the company to excel in all areas, one should assess the weaknesses and seek to improve them. 

  • Not Country’s No.1: The bank is the third-largest in Southeast Asia by assets after OCBC & DBS bank. It is still not at No.1 position which makes it one of the weaknesses of UOB.
  • GM Divisions have Low Productivity: Global market and venture executives gives an exhaustive scope of depository items and administrations including future broking, gold items, derivatives, margin exchanging, unfamiliar trade, fixed pay just and a variety of organised items.
  • Probability of Higher Advance Rates: According to the report distributed in Business times UOB and HSBC likewise went into the home loan battle with the players now in the market as DOB and Bank of China. The rates of fixed credit bundles given by BOC were 1.48 in Year 1, 1.58 in Year 2, 1.68 in Year 3 through the loan fees given by UOB were 1.68 in years 1,2, and 3 individually.
  • Need to Invest More in New Technologies: According to the country’s scale of expansion and the geographical areas UOB needs to invest more funds in technology to coordinate the processes across the board. Currently, the investment in technology is not on par with the vision of the company.
  • Depend on Singapore & Southeast Asia: UOB’s global presence is not up to the mark. The bank is dependent more on Singapore & South Asian regions. Also, UOB lags behind the top Southeast Asian banks in terms of several branches. 
  • Customer Service: Improper customer service, as well as a lack of solving customer queries, can cause a negative image of the brand. This can either be through mouth publicity or by any other means.

Opportunities for UOB

Opportunities are external variables that work in the company’s favour, and the company can take advantage of them to grow.

  • Moderate Growth Rate: Following a moderate growth rate in the business, a financial uptick and increase in client spending provide an opportunity for UOB to attract new clients and increase its share of the total industry.
  • Expansion to Other Global Markets: The company is planning to expand to more developing countries as well as the Middle East nations too such as Abu Dhabi. This serves them as an opportunity to acquire a new customer base.
  • Development of Technology: Since the FinTech industry is growing at a very rapid pace, there are advancements in technologies too. Using these kinds of technologies can increase efficiency and decrease cost.
  • Interest Rate: Lower interest rates than compared to previous years provides an opportunity for UOB to undergo expansion projects that are financed with loans at a cheaper interest rate.
  • Low Inflation Rate: The low inflation rate can bring more stability to the market and enable credit at a lower interest rate to the customers of UOB.

Threats to UOB

Threats are external elements that may have an impact on the bank. To avoid inflicting damage to the company, these concerns should be addressed as quickly as feasible. The threats to UOB are as follows:

  • Changes in Charge Rates: The difference in charge rates in different nations and the expense strategies are probably going to create danger for UOB on worldwide stages. The execution of arrangements like GST and expense pieces are influencing the monetary records and incomes of the bank.
  • Centre Hoop is Liable to Influence: The centre stud of UOB are reasonably effective because of low rates and nonstop contests on the lookout. The loan fees of a measure of $10000 are having a tendency to be 1.50% adding up to a premium of $150 while there should arise an occurrence of Bank of China. It was 2.225% adding up to $223 each year.
  • Global Competitors: If UOB wants to expand their business around the world, they have to be careful of what policies they make or how they provide their services in the foreign market or how they market themselves, where already existing local banks are what the people trust in. 
  • Increased Marketing Efforts: Due to the rise of digital marketing, there is an increasing number of promotional messages are being sent by competitors. It clutters up the space, which leads to losing out on customers. UOB is well versed and trying to adopt a variety of the latest digital marketing skills to get ahead of the competition. You must also check out these skills to achieve the same.
  • Uncertain Conditions: The dynamic market environment makes it difficult not for a bank but for every company to be vigilant and to take precautions before any crisis occurs. One other example of an uncertain condition is the Covid pandemic which made most businesses go on a complete shutdown and only visioners were and can take advantage of such situations.
  • Financial Risks: Because the company operates in several countries, it is subjected to currency fluctuations, which are exacerbated by the world’s increasingly volatile political climate in a variety of industries.
  • Cyber Security: It’s been one of the major risk factors in the financial sector. It is a must for financial systems to have the ability to withstand this cyber-attack by increasing IT  monitoring and control.

Now that we have come to the end of this thorough SWOT Analysis of UOB. Let’s see the summation of this article in the conclusion.

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To Conclude

UOB is a well-known financial services firm with a global reach. The SWOT analysis of  UOB revealed that the firm is strongly reliant on its consumers and has great brand recognition and trust. It has a strong sustainable foundation and has a presence in all of the areas it services, but profits and losses have been variable in recent years.

With rising competition in a saturated industry like finance, corporations are left to fight it out by improving their marketing efforts to win over their customers. Being well-versed in digital marketing is a requirement for all marketing enthusiasts in today’s shifting scene, where it is of vital significance. If you want to learn more and improve your skills, take a look at our 3 Months Advanced Digital Marketing course where you can learn everything about digital marketing in-depth just like this case study. 

We hope this blog on the SWOT Analysis of UOB has given you a good insight into the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can also read our comprehensive study on the SWOT Analysis of JP Morgan Chase.

If you enjoy in-depth company research just like the SWOT analysis of UOB, check out our IIDE Knowledge portal for more fascinating case studies.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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