Blending digital and business banking services is the way of the future

Blending digital and business banking services is the way of the future

We are entering new territory as we move deeper into the digital age. 

Business partners working on digital tablet
Business partners working on digital tablet/ iStock
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Standard Bank

We are entering new territory as we move deeper into the digital age. It is a place where digital convenience and business service meet; the two worlds complement each other, and client preferences set the pace. 

Although digital banking is still on the rise, many clients prefer face-to-face interactions when discussing complex financial matters or when personalised advice is required. Also to be considered are local dynamics, such as the economy of the area and the needs of businesses that typically use branches in a defined region, says Rishaad Webster, Head of Business Banking, North West.

“Although digital convenience leads the way and 95% of our clients regularly use digital solutions, Standard Bank believes its long-held positioning as a financial institution based on developing and maintaining relationships is still valid.

“At the base of Standard Bank’s ongoing initiative to open new branches is that having a physical presence in a community remains valuable. A ‘bricks and mortar’ branch constantly reminds people of the bank’s existence, stability, and strength. What will be noticed, however, is that the branch of a decade ago has changed significantly to blend personal service and the needs of the digital age.”

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An example of these changes is the recently opened Potchefstroom Business Centre, which offers facilities for communities operating in and around the town, a regional economic hub in the North West Province.

With clients coming to Potchefstroom to conduct business banking and the needs of a rural agricultural community to be considered, it was obvious that a dedicated meeting place was required. Hence, the opening of the Potchefstroom Business Centre, says Webster.

“The branch and business centre are meeting the essential service needs of clients but are configured to facilitate the flow of clients so that waiting times are minimised, and clients have quicker access to bankers with the necessary specialised knowledge and skills.”  

“Dedicated spaces where business clients can interact with business bankers and support staff are critical to building the relationships on which Standard Bank is based.” 

Therefore, the Standard Bank Business Centre in Potchefstroom offers clients a purpose-built business banking branch that is centrally situated. Among its benefits are facilities for a team of business bankers, private interview cubicles, and a boardroom for larger meetings.

“In Potchefstroom, many clients operate in sectors where cash is still king. To ensure that they can transact easily and safely, we made sure that facilities include a dedicated cash teller function with a separate entrance, as well as two AutoBank machines offering around-the-clock service.”

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What will make a significant difference is that, while traditional cash teller functions will be available during business hours, the dedicated business centre facilities will be available on demand. Clients may meet with relationship managers and the wider support team or arrange a space for business meetings with their personal business contacts.

“The flexible approach to meeting facilities enables clients to use the latest plug-in-and-use digital conferencing and meeting technology while attending to their business needs,” says Webster.

While these branches meet the personal side of the banking equation, Standard Bank is also upgrading its digital services. This drive includes the upgrading of ATMs so that clients who may opt for personal interactions with bankers can access services wherever and whenever required.

“Having digital and personal service facilities in 45 centres countrywide demonstrates that we are dedicated to serving our clients in the best formats available, with the branch network complementing the bank’s digital and self-service channels. Our national footprint will be continually monitored to ensure that the appropriate mix of Standard Bank services are available where they are required,” says Webster.   

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