Banks prepping for Feb 4 deposits

The Straits Times

Banks here are gearing up for the big day: Feb 4.

Known as Li Chun on the solar calendar, it marks the beginning of spring and the new year.

Long queues are expected to form at banks and cash deposit machines on this auspicious date. Many believe that depositing money into their bank accounts can help their wealth grow.

The practice has become so popular here that banks such as OCBC Bank, DBS Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB) have special measures in place to cope with the expected crowd.

These include increasing manpower, offering mobile banking options and providing seats for pregnant women, the elderly and the disabled in the queues.

OCBC Bank's head of group customer analytics and decisioning, Mr Donald MacDonald, observes that the transaction volumes increased significantly on Feb 4 last year.

He says: "Based on the analysis of 2015 ATM and branch deposits, we noticed that there was clear alignment with recommendations made by the astrological calendar.

"The busiest day of the month was Feb 4, with deposit transaction volume increasing 40 per cent."

Preparations have already started for OCBC Bank.


Mr Sunny Quek, OCBC Bank's head of branch and premier banking, says: "During the busy Chinese New Year period - from the time banks start exchanging new notes till the 15th day of Chinese New Year - we deploy an additional 30 per cent of service ambassadors to our branches to ensure smoother operations."

A UOB spokesman says: "As this is deemed to be a significant date for our customers, we are expecting an increase of deposits on Li Chun.

"To ensure that our customers have a good experience, we have catered for extra manpower at our branches and have ensured that cash deposit machines are serviced and emptied to accommodate the extra volume of deposits.

"There will also be special seated queues for pregnant women, the elderly and the disabled."

But instead of spending time and effort queueing up, DBS Bank offers another way to deposit money on Li Chun.


A DBS Bank spokesman says: "On Feb 4 this year, Singaporeans will be able to make electronic money deposits to their bank accounts for greater convenience.

"Instead of having to bank in cash physically on that day, DBS/POSB customers can simply make deposits to their bank accounts from their DBS PayLah! mobile wallets."

And there is an added advantage.

The spokesman adds: "DBS/POSB customers simply have to send money from their DBS PayLah! mobile wallets to their own accounts and stand a chance to win $88 in cash credit in a special lucky draw open to 100 winners."

This is good news for Miss Joanna Teo, 20, as she banks in money on Li Chun every year.

The final-year polytechnic student says: "I've been depositing money on Li Chun for at least three years now because my mother used to tell me that doing so would bring in more wealth for the entire year.

"I once queued for more than 30 minutes and was still quite far from the deposit machine. I was afraid that I'd miss my zodiac's auspicious hour, so I rushed over to another nearby ATM, hoping for a shorter queue."

While people like Miss Teo remain hopeful for the growth in wealth, depositing money on Li Chun for wealth may well be just a myth, say fengshui masters.

There are also a few variations of the favourable times to deposit money.

Not that it matters to Miss Teo, who still wants to deposit money on Feb 4 as it gives her more "security".

She says: "I'll still deposit money anyway because it makes me feel more at ease and confident about my wealth in the upcoming year."

Li Chun lucky deposits a myth: Fengshui masters

It is only a myth, two fengshui practitioners tell The New Paper on Sunday.

They say the trend started a few years ago when a chart was made, stating the auspicious hours to deposit money for good wealth throughout the year.

It soon caught on and now, it has become a tradition to deposit money on Li Chun.

Fengshui master Adelina Pang, 49, who has been in the industry for more than 18 years, says: "Someone invented this belief of depositing money on Li Chun for good wealth and now, it has become the talk of the town.

"Coincidentally, this year's Li Chun has good stars, so it is a good day. But we cannot have the mindset that every year's Li Chun will be good."


Fengshui master David Tong, 41, who has been in the industry for 11 years, explains: "Li Chun just marks the beginning of spring and a year of transition.

"In pure fengshui, there is no such thing as depositing money on that day for good wealth."

Both Ms Pang and Mr Tong concede that this year's Li Chun is a good day to start new things such as businesses, accounts and jobs. But 46-year-olds born in the Year of the Dog may not be in luck this Feb 4.

Ms Pang says: "Li Chun happens to have a good star, but it clashes with those who are 46 and born in the Year of the Dog. "Just don't do anything major, like get married or set up a new business, because of the clash of stars."

Mr Tong sums it up: "You don't have to do anything to change your luck. If it is a good year for you, everything will go smoothly automatically."

This article was first published on Jan 31, 2016.
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