Banks may need 1,000 new staff for extra service

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 July, 2006, 12:00am


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Banks may have to hire 1,000 new staff as they bring in a five-day working week while extending branch opening hours. They may also face pressure for pay rises, particularly from frontline staff, said an industry chief.

HSBC, the city's largest lender, will open some branches on Sundays and extend opening hours of branches on Saturdays when it introduces a five-day working week in September.

Peter Wong Tung-shun, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Banks, expects some competitors to follow suit.

Mr Wong, an HSBC executive director, said it was hard to predict how many more staff the industry needed to hire, as different banks will have different strategies for extending branch opening hours.

'[HSBC] already plans to hire 400 people. In proportion, the industry may hire more than 1,000 new staff in total,' he said.

Mr Wong agreed there might be some pressure to raise salaries. 'We have seen some banking staff getting salary increases when they switch employers,' he added. He hoped additional revenue would offset banks' increased expenses.

Stanley Wong Yuen-fai, a director and deputy general manager of ICBC (Asia), said the introduction of a five-day week for civil servants this month might create demand for banks to extend opening hours.

He expected banks would need to increase staff by 5 per cent to 10 per cent if they decided to expand service hours during the weekends.

There would be a particular need for tellers and sales staff.

He said salaries in the banking sector had already risen by between 5 per cent and 10 per cent this year, and there might be further pressure for pay rises as banks sought extra staff.