Singapore’s second-largest bank, OCBC is planning to halve its frontline jobs in the next two years as part of digital banking push. The staff affected by the move will be redeployed to take on advisory roles at the 51 branches in the country, it said in a media release on Monday (July 23).
Over the next five years, all OCBC bank tellers will be sent to retraining to be able to perform digital or advisory roles. It said that despite OCBC focuses on more digital and advisory services, the tellers employed today will not lose their job as a result. However, the number of tellers it currently has was not disclosed, Straits Times reports..
It added that the existing branch network would remain ‘largely unchanged’, even as the bank has set aside S$14 million to develop new automated teller machines (ATMs) and digital service kiosks in Singapore that function as ‘mini branches’. OCBC will install the latest ATMs and digital service kiosks at 35 of its branches by 2020, where customers can cash deposits and large withdrawals, simultaneous cash and coin deposits, as well as the updating of personal details.
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The new ATMs and digital service kiosks include new digital technology capabilities, such as facial and fingerprint scanners for biometric authentication and signature pads. These features can be activated for customers’ use in the future.
The bank said that the redeployed teller staffs will become branch ‘digital ambassadors’ and service executives or perform other advisory roles. This way, they can move into roles that allow them to take on higher value-added tasks which require decision-making or physical verification. This shift takes them away from repetitive menial counter tasks such as processing cash transactions, which currently make up close to 90 per cent of transactions performed at branch teller counters. Over the past five years, OCBC’s bank-teller headcount has been reduced by 15 percent due to digitalisation.
Mr Dennis Tan, OCBC’s head of consumer financial services in Singapore, said, “With the advent of technology, we have retrained staff for higher-value job functions that will transform our business and allow a more efficient workforce to deliver optimum results. Customers must know that our staff can competently help them with digital-age processes and tools.”
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