CIMB Singapore laying off staff, closing Orchard Road branch as part of restructuring

A CIMB spokesman said the bank had conducted a detailed analysis of CIMB Singapore's business.
A CIMB spokesman said the bank had conducted a detailed analysis of CIMB Singapore's business.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - CIMB Singapore will lay off staff and shut its branch in Orchard Road as part of a restructuring exercise, following a review of its business, The Business Times reported.

CIMB Singapore's chief executive Victor Lee said in an internal memo cited by BT that this comes as the bank revises its strategy to emphasise sustainable growth, in line with the group's vision to be a "leading focused Asean bank".

"This would entail optimising our functional set-up, leveraging our group's strengths through regionalisation, and closing our branch in Orchard to fully focus on our main branch in Raffles Place," he wrote in the memo.

"These will make us more resilient, more productive and better positioned for growth going forward."

It was not immediately clear how many employees may be affected. With the closure of the Orchard branch, only one branch in Raffles Place will remain.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a CIMB spokesman said the bank had conducted a detailed analysis of CIMB Singapore's business.

"Given our digital transformation efforts and our customers' shift towards online channels, we have carefully reviewed our resources. This will enable us to weather the challenging and fast evolving environment to ultimately deliver value to all our stakeholders," he said.

The spokesman said that since last year, CIMB has been intensifying efforts to upskill staff, particularly in the digital, data and design areas.

The bank is "proactively working with internal and external support groups to assist our affected staff during this transition", the spokesman added.

He stressed that Singapore remains a core and important market to the CIMB Group.

"With the group's recalibrated strategy, CIMB Singapore will be further positioned as an Asean banking hub for the group, with a focus on wealth management, SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) banking, regional corporates and treasury and markets."

The local unit of the Malaysian bank has seen significant corporate changes recently, with the layoffs of three major business heads - consumer banking, commercial banking and corporate banking - last November.

The Banking and Financial Services Union and the Singapore Bank Employees’ Union said the bank management had given prior notice of the retrenchment exercise. Since then, the unions have worked closely with the management to negotiate a fair compensation package for the affected employees.

Union leaders, as well as representatives from NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute and the Institute of Banking and Finance, will provide support to affected staff in the areas of employability training, career coaching and job placement.