Pandemic Causes OCBC To Rethink Branch Network Strategy
(21 May 2020 – Singapore) OCBC is planning to change its branch network strategy as adoption of digital banking services rises amid coronavirus pandemic.
Samuel Tsien, chief executive officer of OCBC, revealed that the Bank saw a broad-based increase in digital transaction volumes in many services including online trading, loan applications and PayNow transactions in the first quarter ended March 31, as 22 of its 46 branches across the city temporarily shut to comply with safe distancing measures. The number of new small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accounts opened online at OCBC during the first quarter reportedly increased by 2.4 times compared to same period last year. PayNow Corporate transactions jumped seven times, while 49 percent of the SME loans were applied digitally, up from 30 percent a year ago.
DBS and UOB are reporting similar digital trends. OCBC expects the increased adoption of digital services to translate into higher net operating profit in the longer term, due to reduced manpower costs and fewer physical branches and offices in future.
"We do expect that the cost increase will be managed and the cost-to-income ratio of the bank would continue to improve," Tsien said.