Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"New POSB branch concept" it really that new?

By Gabriel Chen (Straits times)
"The People's Bank, which has over 50 branches here, will launch 'new concept' branches at Rivervale Drive, Yishun Street 22, Eunos Crescent and Toa Payoh Lorong 1.

Conspicuously missing at the branches will be tellers at counters who help you with simple deposits and withdrawals. There will be machines to help you do just that.

For instance, one machine lets you deposit cash without your passbook or ATM card, while another lets you deposit cheques and issues you a receipt after that for your peace of mind.... "

Ahem. Finally. Singapore banks finally caught up with HK banks. Yep. It has already been done so dont feel too fancy pants about it.

I didnt even realise it is a new concept because HSBC banks here in Hong Kong have exactly that deposit machines that doesnt require ATM card or passbook, and able to issue receipt that has a SCANNED image of your check (U have option to display the scan image or not). I have been using for months.

In fact I am so impressed that the machine was able to recognise the exact numbers on the cheque and ensure there is no disparity in the banked in sum written vs the amount you manually entered into the machine. My partner was also impressed by the text/ numbers recognition. During the process, U can also create a code to label this transaction and this is displayed in your paper statement later as well. And oh yes Singapore banks, my name is printed on the receipt too so that it clearly tells me where my money was deposited too, an added layer of "security" that my bank number was entered correctedly. The whole process takes about less than 3 mins (if you know what you are doing). Counter? What counter?

I do not know how long HSBC banks machines have been in operation since I only returned in July but suffice to say, they probably are three steps and eons head of Singapore (again).

Funny how when I was much younger and less travelled, I used to think we are the fastest, the best inventive nation who sought to be most efficient.... now, having lived away, I constantly wonder why are our nation always so slow, so inadept in adopting the best practices which has been done in other nations. Considering the significantly SMALLER size and population, you would think it is easier for us to adopt it quickly and leap with greater spring... I wonder what is weighing us down?


WhiteDuskRed said...

I guess it has something to do with our cautious approach towards technology. Especially for old-school banks like POSB.

Although we were also behind on the varied usages of the EZ-link/Octopus card, I am glad that the in-vehicle unit (IU) allows me to drive around Singapore without ever having to draw the window when I drive through carparks or ERP gantries.

Singapore was also one of the first nation to implement Area Licensing Scheme in the 70s or 80s.

Quote Wikipedia : Hong Kong first conducted a pilot test on the Electronic Road Pricing system in 1983 to 1985 with positive results.[19] The study also included a simulation of the Singapore Area Licensing Scheme-based 12-hour manual toll collecting system, itself also a world pioneering effort in road pricing since 1975. However, public opposition against the move stalled its implementation. New studies conducted in the 1990s and the opposition towards further reclamation of the Victoria Harbour recently has led to advocates of the ERP as a possible alternative for road management. Thomas Chow, Deputy Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works, noted, however, that the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, to be built on the reclaimed land, is still needed because the ERP works best if an alternative road system is available, citing the Singapore and London experiences whereby the systems were only implemented after bypasses were available. (see also Edinburgh congestion charge)

You will see ERP and more IU units in HK in the next few years and you will be wondering what took them so long to implement it. If you measure, Singapore and HK are always either first or second to implement new technologies because the 2 countries are so alike. Population, size and geography. Major difference will be Singapore must take care of its own defence while HK has mother China.

Now if only I can find those Japanese warm-butt toilet seats in HK as well...

"me-no-mad" said...

Honestly, I still didnt think ERP is a good idea at all even though we had implemented it first. ERP works well for large countries that requires toll like Australia, Japan and perhaps HK, but in singapore, I much prefer the older system where cars were more expensive and traffic congestion was lesser of a problem than it is now.

And like I said, in the past, we were always the first to implement things (such as healthcare and such) before other nations, but nowadays, I find that we are always falling behind with the new band of leadership...

Technology is almost like our bread and butter and it makes me wonder if something as pertinent as this is slow to implement, then what exactly are we focusing on nowadays? Not saying they are not good enough, but being just good enough is being complacent. perhaps my argument didnt come thru enough, my point is, why are we always slow to adopt good practices? Is it the layers of decision making or the people one need to convince?

U lost me there...defence?

Dont remind me of the warm seat, I miss it during winter but my husband prefers not, he thinks the warm seats are weird as if someone just sat on it for a long "hiroshima" session... :P

WhiteDuskRed said...

Uh... defence spending and defence industries are the only areas where Singapore is different from HK. Apart from that we are virtually fighting for the same market. These few years Singapore has been making progresses on the arms market. (Alot of transactions are a bit more... shy of the frontline news in case it upset our neighbours)

I think the reason why Singapore is not pushing forward as fast is because there's no one calling the shots like how MM Lee used to.

Never ending argument with expensive cars VS ERP. ERP as a system... it did force me to think of alternative routes to my destination instead of bashing through Marina/Orchard. Next level of ERP won't be using gantries but by using GPS to track road usage.

And keeping the car pricing at incredible prices will give Singapore a lower ranking on free market indexes blah blah blah... you get the point~ And with ERP, Singapore is once again the role model for big cities all over the world again. You know how Singov loves winning accolades like that~