Singapore's OCBC Bank will spend S$55 million over the coming two years building back-office hubs in Singapore and Malaysia. The move, which was previously announced in February 2003 as part of the bank's New Horizons strategy, will give OCBC greater processing capacity. The hubs will also act as back-up sites for business continuity and disaster recovery.

The bank's chief executive officer, David Conner, says the plan is consistent with the OCBC's goal to bank the consumer and SME sectors. "Our business is expanding in virtually all customer segments and we are actively recruiting to support this growth," says Conner. "By adopting a more efficient model for our operations we will be able to handle greater volumes while continuing to provide the same, if not a higher, level of service to our customers."

OCBC has established two wholly-owned e2 Power subsidiaries to implement the plan. e2 Power Sdn Bhd in Malaysia was granted multi-media super corridor status in August.

While the bank isn't revealing exactly which functions will be performed in the hubs, it has confirmed that existing staff in back-office functions will be seconded to work at the subsidiaries.

The bank assures customers that services will remain uninterrupted during the 12 to 15 month implementation.