Helping customers and our communities through COVID-19
We continue to offer our customers banking services at all OCBC Bank branches and OCBC Premier Banking Centres in Singapore. Banking hours at these locations remain unchanged, with special queues arranged for the elderly and other vulnerable customers.
SME customers can go to any of the OCBC Bank branches for their banking needs. The Trade Service Centres at OCBC Centre South and OCBC Tampines Centre 2 remain open.
Over 1,100 ATMs across the island in our shared ATM network with UOB continue to be fully operational.
Customers can also access our wide range of digital banking services.
A message from Sam, our Group CEO
Continuing to serve customers during this COVID-19 outbreak
Dear valued client
With the escalating severity of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak globally, I wanted to reach out to assure you that we remain totally committed to serving your banking needs, as well as to share updates on our response.
Our thoughts and hearts go to those who are affected by this outbreak and we appreciate the healthcare workers and all who are on the front line working hard to contain this virus so that we can be safe and resume our normal daily lives as soon as possible.
For almost 90 years, OCBC has lived by our core values of always placing the interests of our customers above everything else. It is this same principle that has guided the Bank through the most challenging of times, whether they are economic downturns, financial crises and even the world wars, and allowed us to come out of each of these events stronger. And each time, the support given to us by our customers has never wavered, for which, we are very grateful.
This same principle continues to guide my team today as we face the mounting challenges of responding to the global threat brought about by the outbreak. This novel coronavirus has caused significant uncertainties. We saw consumer confidence and sentiments dwindle, and companies delay their investment and expansion plans. The stresses to the global supply chains could be larger than the 2003 SARS outbreak. The financial market has become more volatile and defensive.
However, we should recognise that this is after all still an event risk, and events come and will go away. The authorities are responding with relief measures and fiscal plans, and central banks are reacting with interest rate cuts. The US Federal Reserve made its second emergency cut on 16 March.
With coordinated efforts, better hygiene discipline and the arrival of the warmer season, I am still hopeful the virus will be contained later in the year, and gradual recovery of investment spending and consumer sentiments will commence soon after, starting with China. The recovery will be slow in the beginning but will accelerate as it continues into 2021.
As a key pillar of our society, OCBC has the responsibility during these times to help you, our client, and the communities to overcome the challenges as we weather through this difficult period.
Keeping you safe
Our priority is to ensure you continue to stay safe and healthy. At all our branches and offices across the group and countries, we have implemented temperature screenings as well as health and travel declaration forms. Any customer with a fever or other symptoms of being ill, or who has recent travel history that falls under a restrictions order, will be denied entry.
We have stepped up cleaning of our branches and offices, and also made hand sanitisers available for our customers.
At the same time, we monitor the health of our staff, especially those with frequent contact with customers, very carefully. Our staff will not come to the branch or office if they display any signs of being ill. You may also have seen some of our frontline staff wearing face masks when they serve you for protective purposes.
Continuing to serve your needs
During this time when so many extra precautionary measures have been put in place, you may find some disruptions when you come to our branches or offices. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind understanding. Many of our units have been on split operations. Where we can, we have stepped up our services as much as possible in order to ensure your needs are still met in a timely and satisfactory manner.
Many financial transactions today can now be performed digitally on our mobile banking or Internet banking platforms, or at our ATMs. 9 in 10 financial transactions are now performed digitally. We have accelerated our digital transformation journey over the last few years and this has come in particularly useful during this period. Without even needing to come to our branches, you can easily access our banking products, and we encourage you to do so. For example, in Singapore, you can apply for and instantly use credit cards, personal loans, bank accounts and lines of credit after applying through digital channels. Even start-ups can open their business accounts with us digitally and instantly.
We have extended targeted relief measures to support impacted customers, including principal moratorium, bridging loans and additional working capital lines. We did not put a monetary cap on our relief programme as we want to ensure every customer gets the help they need, and not on a first-come, first-serve basis. We want to do our very best to help bring our affected customers back to their normal state in 6-12 months’ time after the end of the outbreak.
Caring for our community
As the business community navigate this period of time, we feel that it is equally important for us to appreciate our healthcare workers and take care of the less advantaged individuals in our community.
In Singapore, to show our appreciation to our healthcare workers who have been working so diligently on safeguarding our people, our staff sent them items which hospital staff had wished for. I joined our 7,000 colleagues in Singapore to pen individual appreciation cards to show our support for these workers.
When we heard that our charity partners were short of food for their beneficiaries such as the elderly and the sick due to a drop in corporate volunteerism and support, we donated money to deliver food packages to vulnerable seniors; provided vitamins and cleaning kits for needy households; and increased the frequency of cleaning at homes and centres for individuals who need the extra help.
We had also donated RMB 1 million (S$200,000) - in support of the Singapore Government's initiative and made through the Singapore Red Cross - to buy medicine, medical supplies and equipment to help impacted communities in China affected by the outbreak.
We recognise that these are unsettling times, but I have every confidence in the resilience of the OCBC group in supporting our customers, our employees and our communities. We want you to know that OCBC is always here for you.
I will end this personal note with this wish from all of us at OCBC - that you continue to stay healthy and strong. Please look after yourself and look out for each other.
Hope to meet you in person soon.
Group Chief Executive Officer