MAS urges banks to review security

Standard Chartered Bank branch at 6 Battery Road.
Standard Chartered Bank branch at 6 Battery Road. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

In wake of StanChart robbery, it expects thorough threat assessments and adequate measures put in place

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday urged banks to learn from the recent robbery at Holland Village and to assess whether their security measures need to be enhanced.

In a statement that followed Thursday's heist at a Standard Chartered Bank branch - in which a teller handed over $30,000 to a robber - MAS said it expects banks to do thorough threat assessments and to have adequate measures in place to address the threats.

"These measures could include CCTV (closed-circuit TV) surveillance, alarm systems, panic buttons and security personnel," a spokesman said, but added that the guidelines are not prescriptive.

On Thursday, a Caucasian man walked into the bank, slipped the teller a piece of paper with his demands and walked out with $30,000 in cash.

He is still at large.

The branch did not have a security guard present at the time.

A StanChart spokesman said that it has in-branch security measures such as CCTV cameras and staff members who are are well-trained to respond to such situations.

The teller who handed over the $30,000 also did the right thing by acting "in the best interests of our customers and our colleagues", the spokesman said.

Out of the five other banks in Holland Village - HSBC, OCBC Bank, DBS Bank, Maybank and Citibank- only the last one did not appear to have a security guard.

Asked about MAS' advisory, banks referred The Sunday Times to statements given to the paper on Friday regarding their security measures.

A UOB spokesman said the bank's policies and procedures for emergency situations are "regularly updated and reviewed", adding that due to security reasons, it could not disclose specific protocols.

A StanChart spokesman said that as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the safety and security at its branches, the bank is "always reviewing our security measures and has taken immediate actions to further enhance them".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 10, 2016, with the headline 'MAS urges banks to review security'. Print Edition | Subscribe