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OCBC to cut teller jobs by half, redeploy affected staff as part of digital initiative

(Reuter file photo)

OCBC is planning to cut by half the number of its bank tellers and redeploy affected staff to other roles by 2020.

The move is part of a $14 million initiative to install new ATMs and digital service kiosks, said the bank in a press release on Monday (23 July).

Within the next two years, these bank tellers will become branch digital ambassadors and service executives or perform other advisory roles, “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”, added the statement.

Over the past five years, OCBC’s bank teller headcount has been reduced by 15 per cent. One in three of the bank tellers are fresh polytechnic graduates while the rest are experienced tellers or staff hired from other banks and industries.

“Even as OCBC Bank transforms its branch operations to focus on more digital and advisory services, no tellers employed today will lose their jobs as a result and the existing network of bank branches will remain largely unchanged,” said the bank.

In response to media queries, OCBC informed Yahoo News Singapore in an email that it currently has more than 300 tellers.

Set to function like “mini-branches”, the ATMs and digital service kiosks currently allow customers to perform 15 of the most frequent bank counter services including cash deposits, cash withdrawals above daily ATM withdrawal limits – up to $200,000 in cash in one transaction in customer’s preferred note denominations – and updating customers’ personal details.

By next year, the ATMs will be able to facilitate instant cheque encashment, enabling customers to scan their cash cheques at the ATM to receive the monetary value of their cheques.

The machines will include capabilities such as facial and fingerprint scanners for biometric authentication and signature pads, said the bank.

Since a pilot launch in May, eight branches have migrated close to 10 per cent of over-the-counter transactions to these machines, with over 35,000 transactions completed, said the bank.

As part of the pilot, 15 digital ambassadors have been deployed to guide elderly customers in using the machines.

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