Marching ahead with financial inclusion efforts by developing a mobile village branch model
Financial Services Group, Absa has announced its commitment to meet the growing need for community banking services, embarking on its first operational trial of a ‘Branch-on-the-move’ in Idutywa in the Eastern Cape – where the original branch had been destroyed by fire.
Explaining Absa’s ‘Branch-on-the-move’ concept, Absa’s Head of Retail Markets Arrie Rautenbach says it is designed to simulate the functionality of an entire bank branch in the form of a large container on wheels, that can be set up to be fully functional anywhere in the country within 24 hours of arrival.
Absa says its ‘Branch-on-the-Move’ serves as an emergency branch and does not require technology or equipment to be dissembled before being transported. In a commitment to improve access to financial services, the Idutywa pilot was built in only six weeks to serve the community while a new bank branch is being planned.
“It will move to areas of the country to extend its banking services where renovations, fire damage, water damage, ATM bombings or even construction interrupt normal branch operations,” continues Rautenbach.
He adds: “This service will especially be felt in remote rural villages. As we invest in our community, Branch-on-the-Move makes it possible for us to make our customers’ lives easier, through a facility that addresses the financial needs of these isolated rural communities.”
“As a leading financial services provider, we’re fully committed to serving the community. We continue to invest in branches and the launch of the Branch-on-the-move service in Idutywa is part of this programme – promoting a continuous effort to serve customers in and around remote parts of the country better.”
Rautenbach noted that there were several dimensions to Absa’s financial inclusion plan adding that through innovative technologies and an expanding network of banks, Absa was continuously addressing the financial needs of isolated rural communities with basic transactional services accommodated through Absa’s In-store banking model, the mobile phone, an extensive network of ATMs and point-of-sale devices, among others in rural markets.
Branch-on-the-move offers full banking services with two tellers, two sales consultants, a branch manager and an ATM. It also includes a kitchen and a bathroom for staff members.
“The introduction of the new branch concept not only ensures that Absa continues to operate in Idutywa, but more importantly continues to service the community without any interruptions or inconvenience,” says Rautenbach.
“This extends the reach of the bank without the immediate cost of establishing a full branch.”