e-services up – OCBC to rejig branch strategy post-virus

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OCBC expects to rejig its branch network strategy after the pandemic as increased use of digital banking has diverted traffic from physical outlets, said the bank's chief executive Samuel Tsien yesterday.

The lender recorded a surge in digital transaction volumes in areas such as online trading, loan applications and PayNow payments in the first quarter.

This is partly due to 22 of its 46 branches islandwide having to temporarily close to comply with safe distancing measures.

Mr Tsien told the bank's virtual annual general meeting that OCBC expects the increased adoption of digital services to translate into higher net operating profit in the longer term as a result of reduced staff costs and fewer physical branches and offices being open. "We do expect that the cost increase will be managed and the cost-income ratio of the bank would continue to improve," he noted.

He added that there have been no overhead cost savings to the temporary branch closures as its ATM network remains operational and affected branch staff have not had pay cuts.

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