24/7 self-banking to be rolled out at some DBS branches

South-east Asia’s largest bank DBS will transform at least a third of its branches by rolling out 24/7, self-service banking options and easier access to financial planning tools in the next 12 to 18 months.

DBS customers can conduct more transactions, such as replacing their debit card, outside of normal banking hours at these revamped branches.

Digital ambassadors and wealth planning managers will also be stationed at the branches to help customers with their banking and financial planning needs.

DBS, which operates 64 branches here, last month opened a 2,000 sq ft branch at Takashimaya Shopping Centre – its first branch to offer a wider range of personalised banking services, with more space for safe distancing.

It is also the bank’s first branch to share a space with a retail store – Guardian pharmacy.

DBS’ efforts come amid a broader shift towards digital banking that has been fuelled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The number of monthly average visits per branch fell by 15 per cent in the months of June to October, compared with before the pandemic.

More than 95 per cent of regular DBS banking transactions such as fund transfers, remittances and bill payments are now done digitally through mobile or online banking.

DBS Singapore country head Shee Tse Koon said the pandemic has irrevocably changed the way most people do their banking and catalysed further transformation to cater to these shifting needs.

He added: “Our new branches will, therefore, complement our digital banking services to provide what we call a ‘phygital’ banking experience that retains our human touch in the form of face-to-face assistance and consultations.”

The Takashimaya branch boasts features such as video teller machines, where customers can replace and apply for debit or credit cards and seek help from a bank teller via video, as well as branch teller machines that allow them to deposit and withdraw cash in denominations starting from $2.

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Two or three digital ambassadors will be stationed at the branch.

The branch also offers services targeted at businesses including machines where they can deposit their earnings, which will be counted and put into their accounts.

Like its co-tenant Guardian, the Takashimaya branch also has a “pharmacy” that offers advice on building financial health.

Its “financial pharmacy” digital touchscreen board allows customers to browse financial planning tips, which are visually represented by health and beauty item icons on the screen.

For example, an icon of a jar labelled “forever young” leads customers to a page that explains the importance of early insurance planning.

DBS is not alone in its efforts to transform its physical branches. Since 2018, OCBC Bank has reduced its number of tellers by half and reskilled them to take on digital ambassador roles. More than 90 per cent of financial transactions are now done digitally or at smart ATMs that can process 90 per cent of all counter services.

Mr Bob Ng, OCBC’s head of personal and premier banking for Singapore, said: “This has allowed us to migrate more than one-third of over-the-counter services out of the branches, compared with five years ago.”

In 2018, United Overseas Bank opened a branch in Tampines 1 mall to cater to young professionals and young families. Instead of traditional teller counters, the branch has self-service machines and spaces for customers to have discussions on financial planning.

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