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Coronavirus: MAS asks banks to take additional measures

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They must be prepared to manage services like rise in cash withdrawal

Singapore's central bank has asked financial institutions to take additional measures and precautions after the alert level on the coronavirus outbreak was raised last week.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday said financial institutions should anticipate and be prepared to manage any increase in demand for certain financial services, such as cash withdrawal or online financial services.

They should inform customers promptly of the availability of services and operating hours, it said.

MAS' latest advisory to financial institutions, its third since last month, comes after Singapore raised its coronavirus alert level from yellow to orange on Friday and reported more cases not linked to previous infections or travel to China.

When contacted by The Straits Times, a DBS Bank spokesman said: "During this time, we understand that more customers may prefer to bank with us digitally, and we are closely monitoring the situation to ensure we continue to deliver a seamless banking experience."

The bank said that with the raising of the response alert level on Friday, it has put in place additional measures at its branches since Saturday to ensure the health and well-being of its staff and customers. Temperature screening and the completion of a health declaration form are required for all customers seeking to enter branch premises.

OCBC Bank said it is prepared to deal with any increase in customer demand for services such as cash withdrawals at its automated teller machines. It is well-equipped to handle any surge in online banking usage, said Ms Koh Ching Ching, head of group brand and communications at OCBC.


United Overseas Bank told ST that staff involved in its critical functions and services will be working from split sites, from home and on split shifts.

"This will ensure all banking services remain operational and secure," said a spokesman.

Customers who are unwell or prefer not to visit the bank can use its mobile, phone and Internet banking options.

Staff who serve customers will wear face masks while engaging with the public.

In its advisory, the MAS also reminded financial institutions to remain vigilant on the cyber security front and to beware of cyber threat actors taking advantage of the situation to conduct e-mail scams, phishing and ransomware attacks.

It warned the public against scammers impersonating Ministry of Health officials and requesting financial information. - THE STRAITS TIMES