IN an aggressive move to cut resignations among lower-paid employees, Standard Chartered is expanding its performance bonus scheme to 3,000 tellers, secretaries and junior officers. The move could force the bank's rivals to institute a similar bonus policy if they want to hold staff. Standard Chartered official Grace Yu said the primary objective of the bonus scheme was to reward good performance, but conceded it could help tackle the turnover problem. ''It is not a solution to a problem, but it helps,'' she said, adding that employees needed to have at least six months of service up to December 31, 1992 to be eligible. Ms Yu, who declined to specify the average bonus per employee, said the scheme had been reserved for only about 1,000 of the bank's 4,000 employees until this year. ''This will raise costs, but at the same time you are getting some returns if your workforce is stabilised and that is good,'' she said. Ms Yu said the bank used three criteria to assess employees before the bonuses were paid on May 1. She said the bank evaluated the performance of the country where the employee worked, their department, and the individual. When asked if Standard Chartered's rivals would be forced to follow suit, Ms Yu said each bank would have to evaluate its own compensation and benefits scheme before making a decision. Union Bank of Hongkong managing director David Yau said there was a lot of competition for tellers and the market was volatile. However, he said Union Bank was confident its compensation programme, which includes special allowances, would retain staff. Mr Yau said selected employees were given special bonuses, but would not say how many or what percentage of total staff was involved. Banks in Hongkong have attempted to reduce costs by importing tellers from the mainland, but this was looked upon as only a temporary solution because of costs of housing and services. Meanwhile, HSBC is seeking to open a series of new branch offices in China and may eventually set up a head office for the country in Shanghai, chairman and chief executive John Gray said yesterday. ''In two years' time, if we could get 12 branches in China I think we would like to have them,'' he said. At present, the bank has four branches in China, with permission for a fifth. Mr Gray said expanding in China was one of the bank's main objectives and it already had a plan for when China made the renminbi fully convertible and possibly allowed foreign banks to conduct renminbi business. ''It is what every foreign banker dreams about - that foreign banks should be allowed to take renminbi deposits in China,'' he said. Hongkong Bank has branches in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xiamen and Qingdao and permission to convert a representative office in Tianjin into a branch. It also has representative offices in Beijing, Dalian, Guangzhou and Wuhan. Mr Gray the bank was particularly keen to open branches in Wuhan, Dalian, Guangzhou and Zhuhai.