Posts Tagged ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’

DBS bank in a sticky PR situation

DBS apparently have irked the gay community in Singapore because it’s CSR programme involved donating “a sum of their credit cardholders’ spending to support a children and learning project [to] Focus on the Family (FOTF)”. According to, asia’s largest GBLT portal, FOTF is an anti gay organisation.

It reported that “FOTF is a local offshoot of the US organization of the same name, known for its strong anti-gay stance and programmes. FOTF regards homosexuality as a sinful moral choice and psychological problem. FOTF in Singapore promoted the activities of Liberty League, which describes queer sexuality with terms like “sexual brokenness” and “addiction and abuse”.”

From DBS’s point of view¬†”FOTF is a non religious and non political organisation. It is a voluntary welfare organisation supported and endorsed by the National Family Council and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in Singapore.”

DBS spokesperson told Trevvy that,

“In line with DBS’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts that are geared towards supporting children and learning, several welfare organisations that support similar causes were shortlisted. Focus on the Family (FOTF) is a voluntary welfare organisation (VWO) endorsed by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. Further, the funds DBS contributes will be directed specifically towards building a new learning centre, scheduled to open next March, for children with various learning disabilities. As this ties in with the Bank’s CSR efforts to empower children through learning, we decided to pick FOTF as our beneficiary for credit card spend this Christmas. It is not the intention of the Bank to discriminate against any group through the choice of FOTF as our beneficiary.”

For full article click here.

One Trevvy member’s comment sums up the general sentiment on the issue. Other’s were less polite…

Lately DBS has been doing almost nothing right. Just look at the way they handle the DBS High Notes customers and then their Big Retrenchment Exercise without consultation with their union. They came accross as truly heartless. Labour Minister, Lim Swee Say, one of the most effective minister we have, is superb in handling the matter and giving them a good lecture.

I am utterly dissappointed with the higher management and Board of Directors of DBS. They are all for money without social conscience, totally insensitive to human concerns.

Any form of discrimination in today’s modern society context is disgusting and inexcusable, be it Race, Religion, Sex or Sexual Orientation. Only the weird, the idiotic and the people without conscience still discriminate openly or as a group. In the states, they called these group of people committing “organised crime” against humanity.


Lesson for us:

When picking a Corporate Social Responsibility programme, it is good to check how our target consumers will react to it. True enough we cant please everyone, but in the era of Web 2.0, we cant always be happy with focussing on the majority demographic/psychographic, we should also take note of which category of customers who are loudest. On the www, news travel faster than the speed of thought.