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United Overseas Bank Limited (commonly known as UOB; 大華銀行有限公司; 大华银行有限公司; 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.[1]

UOB provides commercial and corporate banking services, personal financial services, private banking and 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[2]


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 the stock exchange have office in both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. After it was publicly listed, the bank went through a series of targeted acquisitions. The bank first acquired the controlling stake of Chung Khiaw Bank in 1971, which expanded its domestic presence and also gave the bank offices in Malaysia and Hong Kong. A new logo for both United Overseas Bank and Chung Khiaw Bank was launched in January 1972.[5]

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).[6] 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 merged with the Overseas Union Bank Limited (OUB) in a deal estimated to be worth S$10 billion in 2001.

File:United Overseas Bank History Plaque.jpg

United Overseas Bank History Plaque

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.[7]


The ten largest shareholders as of 1 March 2017[8] are:

Name of Shareholders No. of Shareholdings %*
1. Citibank Nominees Singapore Pte Ltd 300,184,672 18.35
2. DBS Nominees (Private) Limited 278,681,033 17.04
3. DBSN Services Pte. Ltd. 141,007,324 8.62
4. United Overseas Bank Nominees (Private) Limited 134,666,910 8.23
5. Wee Investments Pte Ltd 128,119,445 7.83
6. Wah Hin & Co Pte Ltd 83,858,671 5.13
7. HSBC Singapore (Nominees) Pte Ltd 82,830,186 5.06
8. Tai Tak Estates Sendirian Berhad 68,168,000 4.17
9. UOB Kay Hian Private Limited 41,198,717 2.52
10 C Y Wee & Co Pte Ltd 36,319,299 2.22

* Percentage is calculated based on the total number of issued ordinary shares, excluding treasury shares.

International operations[]


United Overseas Bank's main branch, located at the scenic UOB Plaza

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[]


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.[9] 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.[10]


UOB's operations in Brunei 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.[11]

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.[12]


File:HK Central United Overseas Bank SBI Centre n Pottinger Street n Des Voeux Road C.JPG

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.[13]

Hong Kong[]

UOB opened its first overseas branch in British Hong Kong in 1965, with the branch mainly focusing on trade financing and corporate banking.[14] The bank currently has 3 branches, with a main branch offering full personal and corporate banking services.

In the past 2 of the Hong Kong branches were under the subsidiary Chung Khiaw Bank.


In December 2009, UOB opened its first branch in Mumbai, offering retail and wholesale banking services, including lending, treasury and trade finance products, to corporates, financial institutions and consumers.[15]


File:UOB Plaza, Jakarta.jpg

UOB Indonesia branch head office in Thamrin Nine complex, Jakarta.

UOB Indonesia was founded on August 31, 1956 as PT Bank Buana Indonesia. Headquartered in Jakarta, the bank offers commercial banking and treasury services, such as deposits taking, loans to small and medium enterprises, and foreign exchange transactions. The company also offers various fee-based services, such as purchase and sale of travellers cheques and banknotes.[16] It has a network of 41 branches, 172 sub-branches and 173 ATMs located across 30 cities in Indonesia.[17]


Founded in December 1972, UOB Japan offers wholesale services which include corporate banking, debt securities investments, treasury, trade finance, current accounts and banknotes trading through its only branch in Tokyo. Operations of OUB in Tokyo was also integrated in 2002 when UOB acquired the bank in 2002.[18]


File:Sandakan Sabah Lai-Piang-Kee-Building-02.jpg

UOB Bank Sandakan Branch in Malaysia

Incorporated in 1993, UOB Malaysia was integrated with Lee Wah Bank in 1994 to operate as a single entity. Lee Wah Bank was founded in 1920 in Singapore, with its first Malaysian branch opened in 1956. In 1973, Lee Wah Bank became a wholly owned subsidiary of UOB and was merged with UOB Malaysia in 1994. In 1997, UOB Malaysia merged with Chung Khiaw Bank (Malaysia) before merging with OUB Malaysia in 2002 to centralise its operations in Malaysia.[19]

The bank today offers an extensive range of commercial and personal financial services: deposits, unit trusts, UOB Bancassurance, previlege banking, e-banking, commercial lending, investment banking, treasury services, trade services, home loans, debit and credit cards, wealth management, structured investment, general insurance and life insurance.[20]


UOB opened its Yangon branch in Myanmar on 4 May 2015.[21]


South Korea[]



File:UOB re.jpg

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

UOB merged Radanasin Bank with Bank of Asia in 2005 with 154 branches across Thailand


UOB obtained the FOSB license to grow in Vietnam in July 2017

North America[]



Western Europe[]

United Kingdom[]


Subsidiaries and joint ventures[]

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[]

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.[22]

See also[]


  • UOB Plaza
  • List of banks in Singapore


  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Template:Cite web
  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. Template:Cite news
  6. "It's Always the Next Deal," South China Morning Post, May 13, 2002. Retrieved November 15, 2015
  7. Montlake, Simon, "Singapore Bankers Take the Plunge," Banker, August 2002, p. 45. Retrieved November 15, 2015
  8. UOB Annual Report 2016
  9. Template:Cite web
  10. Template:Cite web
  11. Template:Cite web
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  13. Template:Cite web
  14. 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.
  15. Template:Cite website
  16. Template:Cite website
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  18. Template:Cite website
  19. Template:Cite website
  20. Template:Cite website
  21. Template:Cite web
  22. Template:Cite web

External links[]

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