Kim Gibson-van der Walt, head of dotFNB (Photo supplied)
Kim Gibson-van der Walt, head of dotFNB, delivered a presentation at the new Cavendish Square branch, revealing the innovations FNB has been working on to advance digital banking in the country.
“We’re faced with what the future of banking would look like and the future of banking for us is dotFNB. There is a growing niche market. The market is growing for a need where technology is a huge focus,” said Gibson-van der Walt.
She added: “dotFNB is really important for us from a perspective that it’s important for us to migrate our clients as well as educate them. Every single day we have clients coming in here with questions about online banking, app banking and cellphone banking.”
She said often the perceptions of traditional branches include having to stand in queues, clients may not feel comfortable to “ask too much” and the banking staff in the traditional branches may not always be in a position to answer questions relating to online, app and cellphone banking.
Gibson-van der Walt said: “That’s really why we’ve opened up dotFNB, because we have the time here. The staff that we have in all the dotFNB stores are technically trained as well as banking trained. So we really have a hybrid of staff, and we’ve realised that it is a need.
“Techno-savvy customers don’t want to come in and have somebody talk to them about banking that have no idea [of] the problems that they’re experiencing with their app or installing their app or how to get an Apple ID and password. So our staff are trained to go through that whole process, help them set up the device, actually install the app, give them a quick crash-course on how to use the app and how to make transfers... and all the functionalities of the app so they feel empowered when they leave,” Gibson van-der Walt added.
According to Gibson-van der Walt, FNB was the first to bring the Microsoft service into the country other than Microsoft itself. She said the applications on the Microsoft service is “constantly evolving” based on new ideas, calculators and questions by customers relating to their needs, thus new applications are created by their in-house application developers.
The Cape Town dotFNB branch was opened following the successful launch of the Bryanston, Gauteng, branch as well as the subsequent launching of three new branches in Johannesburg, in Centurion, Pretoria, and another in KwaZulu Natal.
Approximately of 4,000 people visit the dotFNB branches, thus becoming a “popular touch point for customers”.
The dotFNB branches are best described as a “virtual environment” of FNB’s service and product offerings, which include smart devices, in a tangible form, through the implementation of “unique mechanisms”, which have never been used or seen in banking branches before.
The unique mechanisms include an interactive financial planning touch screen interface surface, powered by Microsoft and video conference cubicles, which connects customers live with FNB experts.
Another apt description for the dotFNB branches include the fact the branches are completely cashless. Should a customer need cash, an advanced ATM is placed just outside the branch for convenience.
All customers whether they bank with FNB or not are able to browse the smart device products and services and instantly apply for them. Non-FNB customers are also able to apply for a cheque account right there and then and apply for a smart device.
In conclusion, Gibson-van der Walt said: “We are living a digital era and although traditional branches are here to stay, we need to offer relevant solutions to our clients.
“We believe that the link between education and banking on digital platforms needs to be readily available to clients, so that they can experience a marked impact on their lifestyles and the way they bank in the future.”