Here's How UnionBank is Turning to Technology to Create Its First 100% Digital Branch
Most financial institutions are incorporating technology into their operations in one way or another. However, UnionBank of the Philippines is going one step further with its first 100% digital branch. Union Bank is one of the largest banks in the Philippines (currently ranked seventh in assets). The bank was founded in 1981 and became a commercial bank in 1982.
Determined to take its own digital transformation seriously, UnionBank is opening a new kind of branch, and it's starting in the Philippines. Somewhat dramatically dubbed The ARK, the digital branch is set to become a new kind of banking location, with a sharp focus on technology and convenience.
Customers stepping inside The ARK won't find any queues, any paperwork, or even a single bank teller. In their place are comfortable and brightly colored seating areas. Customers can help themselves to complimentary coffee, and interact with virtual reality equipment while they wait. And they won't be waiting long as there are plenty of terminals, tablets, and touchscreen TVs with which they can carry out all their banking transactions - including making payments, transferring funds, and applying for loans.
"Instead of a transactional space, we thought that we needed to make an interactive space, where our customers can interact with us, where they can interact with each other, or even just come here to have a cup of coffee or [use the] internet," said Justo Ortiz, Chairman of the Board of UnionBank of the Philippines.
Those who may be concerned that UnionBank has done away with human beings entirely need not fret, however. There are brand ambassadors on-hand to assist customers with using any of the technology at the digital branch, and to offer advice on everything to do with money and banking. Their role is to greet customers as they arrive, hand them a tablet, offer them coffee, and find out what their needs are.
(Image source: swirlingovercoffee.com)
"The ARK provides a service unlike any other," said Ana Aboitiz Delgado, Deputy Centre Head and Chief User Experience Officer at UnionBank of the Philippines. "There are no lines, no numbers, hardly any forms to fill out, just highly-trained bank ambassadors ready and happy to give personalized service to each and every client. Every client here receives the proverbial VIP service."
The ARK was created in less than a year - from conceptualization to opening - with assistance from Atlanta-based NCR Corporation. It is NCR's proprietary Interactive Teller technology which makes The ARK's teller-less service function so well. The Interactive Teller allows centrally-located bank tellers to remotely offer almost all the functions a traditional staff member would. Aside from the expected services, NCR's technology offers intelligent cash deposit and recycling options, multi-currency deposit, remote download of templates and scalable check deposit.
"Customers today don't merely seek effortless transactions at branches but also demand services at a time and channel of their choice," said Jose Resendiz, Vice President & General Manager of NCR Financial Services. NCR remains committed to keep pace with evolving customer needs by delivering innovations they demand. We are excited to deliver innovative self-service technologies that assist pioneering banks such as UnionBank to transform customer experiences and leverage optimal staff productivity, while maintaining a personal touch with their customers."
With NCR's amazing technology and UnionBank's financial experience, The ARK is off to a great start. If the service proves popular in the Philippines, there's every chance we could see a worldwide roll-out soon.
The final word goes to Edwin Bautista, UnionBank President and CEO.
"Today, the banking sector is witnessing transformational changes in terms of customer expectations and meeting them to the utmost satisfaction is what puts one ahead of the crowd. Only through deployment of futuristic solutions can the present lead be sustained and expanded. With the addition of this innovative concept, we are confident of revolutionizing branch banking across the country and delivering exceptional customer experiences."
Digital branches are set to be a hot topic at Future Branches 2018 this December in Austin, Texas.
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