OCBC confirms one-off disbursement of approximately HK$53 million for 14,000 junior staff worldwide

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21st February 2024 – (Singapore) OCBC, one of the stalwarts in the banking sector, has earmarked a substantial sum of nearly S$9 million (around HK$53 million) as a one-time aid intended for the benefit of its junior workforce worldwide. This financial gesture is set to extend across the bank’s extensive network, including its subsidiaries such as the Bank of Singapore, OCBC Securities, and Great Eastern Holdings. The beneficiaries, numbering up to 14,000, account for over 40% of the OCBC Group’s employees in its 19 markets, emphasizing the organisation’s commitment to its staff during challenging economic times.

From February to March 2024, the disbursements are scheduled to commence, with the aim of providing relief to employees grappling with the escalating cost-of-living. In the domestic market of Singapore, 4,600 junior staff members will be the recipients of S$1,000 each. This group encompasses newcomers to the professional milieu and those in unionized positions, representing approximately 40% of the total Singapore-based workforce.

OCBC’s strategic move comes at a time when core inflation in Singapore, which excludes accommodation and private transport costs, is projected to recede only in the latter part of 2024. The bank’s decision to roll out the payouts is in step with the Singapore National Wages Council’s recommendations from October 2023. The council had urged companies to extend support to their employees in managing the country’s mounting cost of living, supplementing the government’s efforts. The council’s advisement, which leaned towards aiding lower to middle-income employees with a one-time financial boost, was ratified by the Singapore government.

For OCBC’s international employees, the support is being calibrated to mirror the economic conditions prevalent in their respective markets.

Lee Hwee Boon, the Head of Group Human Resources at OCBC, shared insights into the bank’s initiative, stating, “The sum allocated for each of the 14,000 beneficiaries might not be grand, but it’s our hope that it will alleviate some of the financial strains brought on by the rising cost of living.”

He further emphasised the bank’s underlying philosophy, which transcends immediate monetary assistance: “It’s about equipping our colleagues with the means to achieve financial resilience. We are invested in fostering a culture where astute financial planning is seen as the cornerstone to thriving amidst inflationary trends.”