PETALING JAYA – The closure of bank branches is an ongoing effort to enhance operational efficiency of banks, according to the Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) and the Association of Islamic Banking Institutions Malaysia (Aibim).

In a joint statement yesterday, the associations stressed that the banking sector remains optimistic on the prospects of employment in the industry in the new financial landscape.

“To enhance productivity and efficiency, bank staff may have to be redeployed and reskilled to fit the constantly evolving resource requirements of the industry,” they said.

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd closed 22 branches in the past one year, while Malayan Banking Bhd also admitted to doing the same without revealing the number of closures.

ABM and Aibim said the advancement in technology and growth of electronic payments have led to the convenience of conducting banking transactions without having to visit a physical bank outlet.

“Transactions are being increasingly automated to promote better efficiency and expediency,” they noted.

“In this environment, banks are focusing on digital platforms, as opposed to physical branches in delivering their services to consumers and businesses.”

They reassured, however, that banking institutions will continue to provide financing to support all sectors of the economy.

ABM and Aibim also noted that the industry will be increasing its focus on areas such as risk management, fraud monitoring, regulatory reporting, anti-money laundering compliance, cyber-security and information technology.

“Our member banks have their own set of strategies and plans with regard to managing their manpower requirements based on their respective business objectives. The banking sector is one of the higher productivity, knowledge-based sectors in the economy with the composition of high-skilled jobs at 72% of the workforce in the financial sector,” they said.

– Sundaily