A bill to be gazetted in December aims to bring the merger of three SAR banks under the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) to a formal conclusion. The Dao Heng Bank Limited (Merger) Bill will combine all the business, assets and liabilities of Dao Heng Bank, Overseas Trust Bank (OTB) and DBS Kwong On Bank into a single entity. Singapore's DBS Group spent HK$45 billion to take over Dao Heng Bank and its subsidiary OTB in April last year. In 2000 DBS bought the smaller Kwong On Bank and renamed it DBS Kwong On. The group has started to consolidate the branch networks of the three banks in the past year but they are still operating under different names. Should legislators pass the merger bill in a vote early next year it will complete the merger under Dao Heng Bank. Banking legislator David Li Kwok-po introduced the private member's bill in a bid to bring a quick conclusion to the merger. The bill will give legal backing for the one-off transfer of thousands of client agreements. This will mean the banks can avoid the long process of asking each of their customers to agree to the transfer of their accounts or loan agreements to the combined entity. In a discussion paper given to legislators the government urged that they pass the bill, which will 'improve [the Hong Kong banking sector's] competitiveness and contribute to long-term stability'. The bill states that DBS's charges will not be expanded over assets previously held by the three banks. It also states that all employees will be transferred to the new entity and treated as being in continuous employment.