The major state-owned players are leading a widespread trend to slashing counter staff within China’s banking sector.
Data from the the China Banking Association (中国银行业协会) indicates that as of the end of 2016 ICBC had reduced counter staff by 14,090 people, while ABC slashed 10,843 workers and CCB cut personnel by 30,007, for a total figure of over 55,000.
The total number of counter staff slashed by the big four state-owned banks is undoubtedly even greater, given the absence of data released by BOC.
The driving force behind these precipitous reductions in counter staff is a sharp increase in Internet banking as the expense of traditional bricks and mortar premises.
CBA figures indicate that in 2016 the number of off-counter transactions performed by banking sector financial institutions grew by 63.68% to hit 177.714 billion, for a total amount of 152.254 billion yuan.
Off-counter transactions reportedly account for the vast majority in the sector, with an average rate of 84.31%. For some banks, such as China Minsheng, virtually all their transactions are now off-counter.