The bank switching behaviour of Singapore’s graduates: Demographics of switchers

The bank switching behaviour of Singapore’s graduates: Demographics of switchers

There are very few studies that have investigated if demographic subgroups switch banks for different reasons. Fry et al. (1973) reported that Canadian female graduates had switched to a greater extent than male graduates. Siles et al. (1994) found that respondents who had different educational qualifications switched banks to about the same extent. O’Dea (1995) reported that switching was more prevalent among males, the younger population and the higher socio-economic groups. None of these three articles reported that the differences they found were statistically significant.


The authors chose personally to administer a survey form with the intention of improving response rates. Personal contact was made with potential respondents in an effort to encourage replies.


Four locations were chosen for the distribution of survey forms. Each location was on the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) railway system. One distribution point was in the Central Business District (CBD) while the other three were in various districts. The survey forms were distributed between 7.00 am and 7.45 am as people were on their way to work. Potential respondents were approached and asked if they were local graduates and, if so, would they be prepared to complete and return a survey form about bank switching. If they agreed, a survey form was given to them with a pre-stamped pre-addressed envelope.

The content of a combination of government publications enabled a profile to be obtained of graduate characteristics. For example, prior to the end of 1990, the country had some 84,000 graduates of whom 59 per cent were male and 41 per cent female. As the 1990s unfolded, so more females graduated and eventually their numbers began to exceed the number of males graduating each year. Another feature of the 1990s was that much larger numbers of undergraduates began to enrol at the two local campus-based universities. A third feature was that the percentage of Chinese to total graduates continued to be higher than the percentage of Chinese people in the total population (ie although the Chinese make up some 75 per cent of the total population, the percentage of Chinese to total graduates was just over 90 per cent). When assessing whether a group of graduate respondents was representative, it would be expected that there would be more than 75 per cent Chinese and an equal percentage of males and females.