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Nedbank is aiming to compete with FNB’s dotFNB stores — a kind of cashless branch that operates as part bank, part retail experience — with the launch of their La Lucia Mall Branch in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
The branch marks part of the South African bank’s “Branch of the Future” roll-out of state-of-the-art technology designed to provide products and services for both individual and business needs for new and existing clients.
‘In keeping with our client centred approach, we understand that innovation and convenience are vital in an ever-changing world where clients are spoiled for choice. This means providing a seamless client experience through a choice of innovative banking channels, allowing for their limited time to work better for them ,’ said Dave Schwegmann: Managing Executive – Branch Network at Nedbank.
Unlike FNB who have branches in various provinces of the country, Nedbank has identified which parts of the country it has a strong client-base in and is targeting those areas.
“…The La Lucia branch adds to our growing footprint in KZN and other parts of South Africa. We believe our investment in these communities will serve as a catalyst towards the sustainable economic growth and development in the province,” adds Schwegmann.
Nedbank states that the new features include:
- A smart queuing system that gives clients the option to continue shopping and be SMSed when a banker is available (if the wait time will exceed 15 minutes)
- The enhanced “Intelligent Depositor” which allows for deposits from non Nedbank clients.
- A video banking facility that provides clients with a digital interface with a banking consultant
- Waiting areas equipped with free Wi-Fi, internet stations and iPads
- Private meeting rooms for retail and business clients
- Improved client service staff training so that they can also provide financial advice
- “Client Service Champions” on the floor to provide a friendly and helpful experience
In short: nicer waiting areas, being told how long you have to wait, friendlier and better trained staff, video consultancy and a device that facilitates third-party payments. It doesn’t quite sound like a “Bank of the Future” to us, but its focus on client service seems a step in the right direction.
The branch will offer a range of products including Netbank Savvy and Nedbank “Ke Yona”, the pay-as-you-use transactional account which includes funeral cover, a personal loan facility, the JustSave account and the Vodacom m-pesa money transfer solution.
It also offers Nebank 4me, a youth-directed account with saving and interest benefits and the newly launched MyFinancialLife ™, an online personal financial management tool.
The recent Nedbank PocketPos ™, a live point-of-sale solution, will also be available through the branch as well as the Nedbank App Suite which supports mobile transactions on Blackberry, Apple, Android and a range of Nokia devices.
Nedbank seems to separating itself from FNB with a focus on solutions for business clients rather than capturing the “retail experience”.
Time will tell whether a more localised “provincial” and business-focused approach will be enough to bring over new clients to the bank, but all “The Branch of the Future” improvements will make for a smoother and better experience for existing Nedbank clients.