11 May 07 The Business Times by Nande Khin
OCBC Bank is offering a hassle-free instant business account opening service that allows customers to issue cheques on the same day.
A pilot project resulted in the monthly number of corporate account openings increasing some 60 per cent year on year.
To open an OCBC corporate account, all a customer needs is their NRIC or passport and the minimum initial deposit to any of the bank's 60 branches here.
The bank obtains the other necessary documents on the customer's behalf. The minimum initial deposit is $500 for a Business Entrepreneur Account and $5,000 for a Business Privilege Account. The amount varies for other corporate accounts.
Customers can get their cheque books and start issuing cheques straight away.
Spokesmen for United Overseas Bank, DBS Bank and Standard Chartered say that they too offer instant corporate account opening at their branches but still require customers to provide standard documents such as their company's memorandum and articles of association.
OCBC head of group transaction banking Neo Bock Cheng says: 'What was frustrating for many companies was that they did not know what documents were needed and sometimes had to make several trips to the bank when they forget to bring one document.'
OCBC's corporate account opening process will particularly benefit entrepreneurs and small companies short on manpower and time, Mr Neo says.
The bank carried out a six-month review to see how it could improve its service to SMEs and larger corporations.
'The voice of customers is really what drives service and product innovation at OCBC,' declares Mr Neo.
The instant corporate account opening service was tested at six branches in September last year. And from January this year, the bank started rolling out the service at other branches.
Mr Neo will not say how much it cost OCBC to start the service, but says an increase in staff strength at branches was not needed.
Compared with corresponding periods last year, the monthly number of business accounts opened at branches was up by an average of a 60 per cent.
On Wednesday, OCBC announced its first-quarter results. Net profit more than doubled to $647 million, boosted by strong revenue growth, better interest margins and one-time gains.
Even excluding one-time gains, core net profit was up 60 per cent year on year at $510 million.