Anticipating lower footfall due to the more stringent social distancing measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, banks in Singapore have announced their plans to close several branches until 4 May.
Across the country, the three local banks, DBS, OCBC, and UOB will close 29, 22, and 24 outlets respectively. However, the outlets that will remain open will continue to operate at the same hours.
On Tuesday (7 April), UOB stated that its 24 branches will be shut down from 11 April to 4 May. The nearest operating branch will be within a three-kilometre radius from a closed branch during this time, UOB assured.
Therefore, 38 branches of UOB banks will remain in operation with most of them being close to essential services like food and beverage outlets as well as grocery stores, the bank stated. Some of the outlets that will remain open are those in Parkway Parade, Vivo City, Tampines, Jurong Point, Serangoon Central, Clementi, Bukit Batok Central, Bedok, and Ang Mo Kio.
Based on the notice on DBS’ website on Monday (6 April), the bank will progressively shut down affected DBS/POSB outlets within the period of one week.
On Tuesday, DBS branch in Marina Bay Sands was the first to close, followed by branches in Tanjong Pagar, Jurong Point, White Sands, Tampines East, Square 2, and Newton on 9 April.
DBS branches in Raffles Link, Holland Village, Alexandra, Seletar Mall, Marine Parade, Tampines One, Woodlands West, and Ngee Ann City will be shut down on 13 April.
The remaining 14 affected DBS outlets in Yew Tee, Jurong West, Bukit Panjang, Westgate, Eastpoint, Compass One, Serangoon Garden, Bedok, Yishun West, Centrepoint, Suntec City, South Bridge, Raffles Place, and Bishan will be shut down on 14 April.
This means that the DBS/POSB branches remaining open are 28 branches.
At the running branches of DBS and UOB, they will prioritise vulnerable customers by serving them in the first hour of operation. The vulnerable include the elderly (60 years and older), people with disabilities, as well as pregnant mothers. During this one hour, there is no SMS Q service provided by DBS.
Beginning from 9 April, OCBC will shut its 22 outlets in Woodlands, White Sands, United Squares, Ubi, Suntec City, Sun Plaza, Singapore Management University, Serangoon Garden, Paya Lebar Square, Parkway Parade Premier, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, North Bridge Road, Marina Bay Financial Centre, Kallang Wave Premier, Jurong West, Hougang, Holland Village, City Square Mall, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok, and Bishan.
From this, 24 branches remain in operation, of which 19 branches are open on Sunday. At least one branch will be open near each neighbourhood town centre, OCBC assured.
To let customers access their personal documents and items, all of the five OCBC outlets with safe deposit boxes will continue to be in operation. The trade service centres at OCBC Tampines Centre 2 and OCBC Centre South will also be kept opened.
Last Friday (3 April), OCBC stated in its press release that it will ensure the provision of “ample cash” at all its open branches and ATMs.
From 9 April to 4 May, Maybank, HSBCH, Citi, and Standard Chartered will also close selected branches in accordance with the industry-wide efforts to reduce social interaction.
Standard Chartered will shut eight of its 16 outlets in Tampines, Takashimaya, Sixth Avenue, Ngee Ann City International Banking Priority Private Banking Centre, Marina Bay, Jurong Point, Clementi, and Bedok.
From 9 April onwards, Maybank will shut their six outlets in Orchard Shopping Centre (MSpace), Yishun, Waterway Point, Tampines, Jurong East, and Holland Village. The two outlets in Woodlands 888 and Textile Centre will be shut down from 15 April.
Similarly, HSBC will shut down 13 branches nationwide in Collyer Quay, Jewel Changi Airport, Holland Village, Suntec City, Tampines, Alexandra, and Hillview.
Citibank Singapore will also shut its four outlets in Punggol, Asia Square, Holland Village, and Woodlands. Remaining outlets will run at revised operating hours with a dedicated hour and priority queues from 9.30 am to 10.30 am designated for vulnerable customers.
Although essential services are still being provided by the bank branches that will remain open during the month-long of stringent restrictions, the shut-down of many branches are also to balance staff welfare in the midst of less footfall.
All payment services will remain unaffected and all financial markets in the country will remain open, authorities in Singapore reassured.
Branches that remain in operation must be well-distributed all over the nation so that customers’ banking needs can be met, stated the authorities, adding that ATM services must continue to be available.