Demand for Fixed Deposits Surges Amid Festive Season

Singapore. Financial institutions that are seeing an increase in fixed deposit transactions amid today’s skyrocketing interest rate environment are urging customers to go online instead of queueing at branches.

According to OCBC, the demand for time deposits has grown significantly in the past few months.

“The number of monthly time deposit placements has grown consistently seven times on average since June last year,” shared OCBC’s head of deposits Na Kok Peng. This increase also translated to higher foot traffic at branches.

“Branch transactions have increased more than 15,000 every month since June 2022,” stated OCBC’s head of branch service and risk management Jean Oh.

She also added that a majority of customers were making transactions related to time deposits such as account openings, withdrawals, deposit placements, as well as applications for CPF investment scheme accounts and government treasury bills.

Meanwhile, Citibank has reported over 300% growth in fixed deposits in the last six months.

“At the same time, we have also seen record client flows into fixed income products that can help clients lock in higher yields for longer tenors, given that peak rates may not be maintained for long in view of the macroeconomic environment,” stated Citibank Singapore’s head of wealth management Lui Chee Ming.

Hong Leong Finance and HSBC also experienced the same customer increase.

To keep up with the demand, UOB has implemented measures to improve its manpower at physical branches.

“Customers visiting our branches will be able to utilise our SMS queue system, where they need only come back to the branch to be served after they receive a text message from us,” according to Benny Chan, managing director of group channels and digitalisation at UOB.

“We have also maximised the number of temporary as well as Gig+U Retiree staff deployment to assist in branch operations, and enhanced our digital services,” he added.

In December, OBCB also deployed 60% more employees to serve customers leading up to Christmas.

Currently, lines can be observed outside DBS and UOB branches, but queues are moving quickly, with most people entering the bank within 20 minutes.

To minimise the effort of customers, banks are encouraging people to do online banking, not just for fixed deposit transactions.

“New customers can consider opening an account with us via our online or mobile channels, at their comfort and convenience,” said a spokesperson from HSBC.

UOB customers can also apply on the app or website. Around 95% of fixed deposits at Citibank are also made through digital and phone banking.

Meanwhile, Hong Leong Finance existing customers can send a fixed deposit placement instruction online through a Letter of Instruction and transfer funds via PayNow. However, new customers are required to visit any branch.

“If they wish to visit our branches, it is advisable to avoid the peak days such as Mondays, Fridays, and post-public holidays,” said a spokesperson from the bank.

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