Supporting sprouting SMEs
SME Banker of the Year, Regional Joyce Tee
JOYCE Tee, managing director and regional head SME banking at DBS, has played an important role in driving the bank’s vision to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “I strongly believe in setting the right foundation through strategic planning and in executing the plans. One cannot do without the other,” she explains.
Through careful planning and execution, Tee was able to make it easier for current and potential customers to interact with the bank.
Integration has been a pillar of Tee’s vision for DBS’ SME franchise. Under her leadership the bank solidified partnerships with treasury platforms such as Tally and Xero. “Our SMEs have so much on their plate. On a daily basis, they have to deal with challenges such as rising manpower costs, hiring difficulties, and fast-changing market dynamics,” highlights Tee.
While she has been impactful in growing DBS’ SME franchise Tee credits her team for supporting her through her various initiatives. For Tee , humility is a powerful leadership trait.
“I make a conscious effort to focus more on my staff and my clients than myself. It has allowed me to learn from even the unlikeliest of people and break out of my comfort zone to grow because, the truth is, you will never have all the answers,” shares Tee.
She believes being over confident can be a weakness. “Confidence can be a double-edged sword. While it is a trait that helps leaders act and drive businesses in a resolute and convicted manner, it can also blindside and prevent one from actively listening to other’s views,” says Tee. “However, there needs to be a balance, a willingness to listen, and patience so they do not rush into decisions thinking they know best.”
Tee believes that people should be open to ideas. This is one trait Tee looks for in new hires. “You don’t have to know everything, skills can always be acquired on the job. But if one remains closed, assuming they know better, it will work against their development and growth.”
Although Tee has made strides in DBS’ SME business, she still faces frustration over the fact that she cannot help all SMEs. “Given that we only have so much time in a day, I have had to re-prioritize my projects to focus on the ones where we can make a difference,” notes Tee.
If not a banker, Tee reveals that she would have been an entrepreneur. “My skillsets were used when I helped at my father’s stall and when I was running my own franchise. They are now being put to better use to help drive the growth of my SME clients,” she says.
She credits many people in creating the person that she is today. “I am the sum of all the experiences and people I have had the privilege to meet and work with,” she says.
Looking ahead, Tee plans to continue supporting SMEs. Despite market concerns about the regulatory environment Tee is focused on things that she can control. “I too have stakeholders that I need to answer to,” she states. “But what is more important, and is almost personal for me, is knowing that I have done all I can to make a positive impact and difference to not only my customers but also those around me.”