OCBC to replace tellers with digital ‘mini branches’


OCBC Bank has announced it will halve the number of teller staff in its branches by 2020, replacing human personnel with digital service kiosks across 35 of its Singapore outlets.

OCBC claims “no tellers employed today will lose their jobs” as a result of the $14 million digital rollout, with staff to be redeployed as digital ambassadors, service executives, and other unspecified advisory roles across the bank over the next two years.

Repetitive menial counter tasks, such as processing cash transactions, represent upwards of 90 per cent of transactions performed at branch teller counters, according to the bank. With the progressive rollout of the new digital kiosks, staff will now be free to perform “higher value-added tasks that require decision-making or physical verification.” 

Dennis Tan, OCBC’s Head of Consumer Financial Services Singapore, said the advent of technology has compelled the bank to retrain staff for higher-value job functions that ensure “a more efficient workforce,” as well as freeing staff to “competently help [customers] with digital age processes and tools.”

“This is the branch of the future evolving with digitalisation as we seek to continuously enhance customer experience. Like many of our new digital initiatives, our new ATMs and digital kiosks will bring even greater convenience to our customers,” Tan said.

The machines function like “mini branches”, allowing customers to perform 15 of the most frequent bank counter services, including cash deposits, cash withdrawals above daily ATM withdrawal limits, selecting the denomination of notes withdrawn, simultaneous cash and coin deposits, updating customers’ personal details and account, and card related requests.

The machines were designed by OCBC’s Customer Experience and e-business teams over two years.

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