Reply to Parliamentary Question on adequacy of ATMs and cash deposit machines
QUESTION NO 60
NOTICE PAPER 229 OF 2014
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 4 August 2014
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Lim Biow Chuan, MP for Mountbatten SMC
To ask the Prime Minister whether the Government will consider imposing a requirement for banks to provide adequate ATMs and cash deposit machines to service the needs of the local population whenever there is a critical mass of 5,000 residents in that area.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1 MAS monitors the availability of basic banking services such as automated teller machines (“ATMs”) and cash deposit machines. The aim is to ensure adequate access to such services while considering the cost and operational constraints faced by banks.
2 Currently, there are 345 retail bank branches, and more than 2,050 off-site ATMs and 300 off-site cash deposit machines located across Singapore. Many of the ATMs and cash deposit machines are sited at high density locations like MRT stations, bus interchanges, neighbourhood town centres and food centres. There has also been an increase in the number of ATMs located at petrol service stations to provide greater convenience to motorists and nearby residents.
3 In addition, banks are actively introducing new channels to widen their reach beyond their existing branch and ATM networks. Besides online and mobile banking options, there are more convenient touchpoints within housing estates. For example, DBS/POSB has partnered SingPost to offer basic banking services, including cash deposits and withdrawals, at more than 55 SingPost outlets. DBS/POSB, OCBC and HSBC have also partnered retail merchants such as 7-Eleven, NTUC FairPrice and Cold Storage to allow customers to withdraw cash at their payment counters. As a result of these initiatives, there are now more than 3,500 touchpoints around Singapore providing basic cash services, compared to fewer than 2,000 bank branches and ATMs 10 years ago.
4 The number of customer touchpoints available in Singapore is broadly consistent with the Member’s suggested threshold of a service point per 5,000 residents. There is, on average, one cash withdrawal point (either branch or ATM) per 1,500 residents, and one cash deposit point (either branch or cash deposit machine) per 5,600 residents.
5 MAS remains committed in working with the banks to ensure that they continue to consider residents’ basic banking needs in deploying customer touchpoints. Where necessary and to address specific circumstances, MAS will engage relevant stakeholders to explore other commercially viable channels to facilitate access to basic cash services and to promote awareness of additional touchpoints.