Monday, August 27, 2012

Self-service banking gaining currency

Mumbai, August 26: Banks are increasingly launching self-service banking in the front lobby of their branches to increase customer convenience and reduce transaction time and costs.
Self-service banking in the front lobby of branches enables customers to use alternative banking channels — ATMs, phone banking, cheque deposit machine, and pass-book printer — without entering the branch, any time of the day, irrespective of whether the branch is open or closed.
The per transaction cost incurred on one customer in the physical branch is Rs 50 on an average, while e-banking costs about Rs 10 for a similar transaction.
Recently, ICICI Bank launched 25 electronic branches across 18 cities. The electronic branch, located within the brick and mortar branch, is a one-stop shop for all banking transactions. Among others, it has an interactive kiosk through which services can be accessed by swiping a debit card and provides video-conferencing with the bank’s customer care personnel.
One of the first banks to start the e-lobby facility is Mumbai-based Greater Bombay Cooperative Bank. It is offering all banking transactions to its customers through fully automated lobby banking.
Greater Bank has deployed a single machine called ‘MegaBanker’ in its lobby for 24x7 banking. Customers can use this machine, among others, to deposit cheque/cash (with real time credit to the account), withdraw cash, printing of savings and current account statements, and fake note detection. Currently, Greater Bank has lobby banking in 17 of its existing 21 branches.
Public sector lender Union Bank of India has launched ‘UnionXperience’ branches, where customers can use alternative banking channels any time of the day, irrespective of whether the branch is open or closed. It has implemented these services in 160 branches across 10 cities, with automation through self-service machines. “Today, more than 50 per cent of our transactions get done via e-banking. This saves time and costs for the bank,” said Lalit Sinha, General Manager, Alternate Delivery Channel, Union Bank of India.
A senior ICICI Bank official said the bank wants to expand its technology platform beyond ATMs and desktop devices to mobile and tablet devices.
Challenges
Replenishment of cash in the ATM machines and infrastructure are major problems, Sinha said. “Indians are more comfortable with human interface and hence the customer adaptation to alternate channels is slow,” said Narendra Behere, CEO, Greater Bank.

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