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FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Bank tellers are out, digital service kiosks are in for OCBC

By 2020, OCBC will cut half of its bank tellers and will replace them with its latest ATMs and digital service kiosks.

OCBC plans to upskill half of its bank tellers and replace them with its latest ATMs and digital service kiosks at 35 of its branches by 2020. The redeployed bank tellers will become branch digital ambassadors and service executives or perform other advisory roles.

“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,” the bank said in an announcement.

Moreover, OCBC has earmarked $14m for the deployment of the new ATMs and digital service kiosks in Singapore. The machines function like “mini branches” and currently allow customers to perform 15 of the most frequent bank counter services such as cash deposits, cash withdrawals above daily ATM withdrawal limits, selecting the denomination of notes withdrawn, simultaneous cash and coin deposits, updating customers’ personal details and account and card related requests.

These can be performed in a completely paperless and straight-through way. OCBC added that through the new ATMs, users will have the ability to add remarks to deposit statements and deposit unlimited cash if they have card access. Users will be able to withdraw cash above the limit with an ambassador’s approval and select their preferred note denomination.

Since the pilot launch of the new ATMs and digital service kiosks at eight OCBC Bank branches beginning in May 2018, the branches have migrated close to 10% of branch over-the-counter transactions to these machines and over 35,000 transactions have been performed.

“Customers can now save up to 10 minutes when they make coin deposits compared to performing this transaction over the counter, whilst non-cash transactions like updating personal details take under five minutes at a digital service kiosk, versus an average of 15 minutes should the customer enter the branch seeking the help of a teller,” OCBC said.

The new ATMs and digital service kiosks include new digital technology capabilities such as facial and fingerprint scanners for biometric authentication and signature pads, which can be activated for customers’ use in the future. By 2019, the ATMs will be able to facilitate instant cheque encashment, enabling customers to simply scan their cash cheques at the ATM to receive the monetary value of their cheques immediately.

The new ATMs will also be able to dispense up to $200,000 in cash in one transaction, in the customer’s preferred note denominations, the bank added.

As part of the pilot, 15 digital ambassadors have been deployed to the branches where the new machines and digital service kiosks have been launched to help guide elderly customers in using the new machines.

For transactions that require additional authentication, such as cash withdrawals above daily limits, a notification is sent to the mobile tablets that the digital ambassadors carry. The digital ambassadors approach the customer at the ATM, quickly verify his or her identity, and then approve the transaction using the tablet.

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

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