Nedbank in the zone with Africa’s first digital-only branch
IN AN industry increasingly revolving around technology, Nedbank has officially launched what is said to be the continent’s first digital-only branch.
Officials disclosed that the facility, called the NZone, cost an investment of over R2 million.
It was unveiled at the Gautrain station in Sandton on Thursday evening.
The branch makes the most of modern technology such as virtual reality to interact with clients and prospective customers, while eliminating the need for tellers.
Tina Pieterse, Nedbank executive: channel strategy and communication, said the full cost of the branch was “in the region of R2m to R2.5m”.
“Because it is experimental, you tend to spend more upfront,” she pointed out.
The technology includes touchscreen computers and mobile virtual-reality headsets.
“The self-service area generally has the most expensive ATMs, that can range between R350 000 to R950 000, depending on the functionality of that ATM. So, for technology in the branch, I can say we spent something like R1m.”
Pieterse added: “Then there’s face recognition as you enter the branch. We can see the sentiment analysis on your face.”
Pieterse said that as the banking industry changed, Nedbank had more digital offerings coming to the fore.
She said there would be more of the NZone outlets, but not at scale.
“You are not going to suddenly see 500 of them, but only components of this branch in existing branches. Virtual reality has just gone into our Eastgate branch. Video banking is at scale at all of our stores. We are learning what works, and expanding elements of that in our stores.”
Pieterse described her involvement in the project as “humbling”.
“Banks often are not seen as leaders in technology in any way, thus it was a massive challenge for us. It has been hugely rewarding to be involved in this project.”
Brigitte Ryder, Nedbank’s provincial general manager: Gauteng North, said the NZone was in keeping with the company’s “digital first, first in digital” ethos.
“On the choice of Gautrain (station), we simply want to create a commuter-type space for people on the go, limiting traditional banking, providing quick and easy service, supported by our digital genius,” Ryder said. – CAJ News