Absa to Add More Tech Processes into its Branch on the Move Unit
Big-four bank, Absa intends to provide more technologically advanced services for its “Branch on the Move” locations, including the activation of facial biometrics technology. In a recent interview with ITWeb, representatives of the bank disclosed this. This is a step in the future journey of the mobile service unit and developing alternatives for the future, according to Pierre Bornman, head of alternative channels within physical channels, a section of Absa Everyday Banking.
Absa Everyday Banking’s CIO for physical channels, Aston McDonald, declined to give many specifics but did say the company is aiming to integrate more technology into the kiosks.
“We’ve done quite well to get to produce the self-service kiosk capability, coupled with our external sales competency within the 10 square metre environment – we’ve gone miles ahead in terms of laying down the prerequisite technology for that space. Without having to spill the beans on it, but when you look at the cash-heavy society, we’re looking at ways to improve our cash recycling capabilities on those devices in that environment.
“We also want to understand from a digital adoption perspective, how we create a light-touch solution for our external sales and call them digital champions, to help migrate our customer base onto our more digital-enabled channels.”
About ‘Branch on the Move’
According to Reyhana Satar, Absa conceptualized Branch on the Move as a method to supplement its current branch network and digital banking channels during the July 2021 civil disturbances in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Satar, head of infrastructure, optimization, and placement inside physical channels at Absa Everyday Banking, claimed that a sizable portion of the population lacked access to banking, hence the bank had a responsibility to fill this gap for its clients.
Personalized self-service account opening using specialized equipment, account inquiries, cash withdrawals, and lending solutions are among the services offered in these units. Additionally, the units have WiFi and can run off the grid because they have solar panels and generators.
“This was a way for us to reach customers in a way that we could not before and go to remote places and to potentially even make it [banking] more inclusive and more accessible,” said Bornman.
“It’s given us the ability to do a whole [lot] more in the landscape of what the trailer can do. We can take it into rural areas, we can service the unbanked in ways that we couldn’t before, without having to go through the full cycle of cost of building fixed branches in the process, and explore those territories and have further reach for the bank.”