CIMB Bank To Close

CIMB Bank To Close Orchard Road Branch

SINGAPORE – As part of its latest restructuring exercise, Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB Bank plans to close its branch in the city-state’s famed Orchard Road area, reported The Business Times on Thursday morning (25 March, SGT).

The financial institution plans “to fully focus on our main branch in Raffles Place,” stated CIMB Singapore’s CEO Victor Lee in an internal memo distributed on Tuesday morning.

Under CIMB group’s recalibrated strategy, CIMB Singapore will be further positioned as an ASEAN banking hub that focuses on treasuries, and wealth management, as well as banking for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and regional corporations, Lee wrote in the memo.

Moreover, the financial firm intends to retrench a number of employees in Singapore, but it declined to reveal the number of workers affected. Before the planned layoffs, CIMB had around 1,200 employees in the city-state.

People privy to the matter told The Business Times that the affected employees include the operations staff in the Orchard Road branch, which will be shuttered by the end of June. As for the other business segments, these will be transferred to other countries.

On Thursday, the Singapore Bank Employees’ Union (SBEU), as well as the Banking and Financial Services Union (BFSU) jointly announced that CIMB Singapore had informed them beforehand about the layoffs.

“Since then, BFSU and SBEU have worked closely with the management to negotiate a fair compensation package for the affected employees,” said the unions, adding that they’re top priority is to help the affected workers, including assisting in finding them another job.

According to Lee, the rationale of the branch closure and retrench is to make CIMB Bank “more resilient, more productive, and better positioned for growth going forward.”

Previously, The Business Times reported that there were rumours circulating since June 2020 that CIMB Singapore will carry out a restructuring.

Last November, Singapore’s financial industry was surprised by CIMB Singapore’s announcement that it had let go of 3 long-time business heads here: Head of corporate banking Lai Ven-Li, Head of consumer banking Josandi Thor, and Head of commercial banking Yong Jiunn Run. They were respectively replaced by Foo Tsiang Wei, Merlyn Tsai, and Benjamin Tan Wee Chuan.

In February 2021, CIMB group announced that its net profit plunged 73.8 percent year-on-year to RM1.19 billion (S$387.3 million) for financial year 2020. The steep decline was partly attributed to a sharp increase in oil and gas impairments in Singapore. Furthermore, the city-state was the only market, where CIMB posted losses in all 3 banking segments – consumer, commercial, & wholesale.

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