Are incumbents finally catching up with Fintechs (SMEs) when it comes to digitising financial services? It seems that's the case as First Bank launches a fully automated branch called the FirstBank Digital Experience Centre.
The branch is a reinvention of digital banking solutions in the country. It is provided to put customers at an advantage in carrying out various activities on their own without interacting with anyone.
What does this mean?
First Bank has expressed its intention of deploying its latest innovation in other locations across the country's geopolitical zones in the coming months.
When fully deployed, First bank will become more competitive by reducing cost-reducing the number of employees. This will possibly lead to a reduction in transaction costs compared to other players in the banking industry.
This is, however, an assumption. An important question that pops up given this development is the maintenance cost of this technology. Even if it is an automated branch where individuals carry out banking activities seamlessly, without interacting with anyone, it is still a brick and mortar bank. Thus, the cost of maintaining each of these branches still stands.
The self-service branch is built with a wide range of phased modern banking facilities, which include humanoid robots equipped with Video Banking and Artificial Intelligence (AI), taking on the role of friendly branch staff; Teller Cash Recyclers (TCRs); Self-Service kiosks for non-financial transactions such as account update; Fast Track (Contactless) ATMs; Interactive Smart Screen to ensure effective and comprehensive consultation with bank sales staff via remote video connection.
Other services include paperless/electronic forms designed to promote timely resolution of complaints, dispensing of account statements and account enquiry/management, funds transfer, dispensing of new ATM cards; fixed deposit booking between N100,000.00 to N5,000,000.00, card services and management, cheque management, email and phone number update, ATM card and token block, amongst many others.
Speaking on the latest development, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, FirstBank said "with our Digital Experience Centre, we have reiterated our role in pioneering leading innovative technology-driven solutions that are central to enriching the experience of our customers in carrying-out various transactions using state-of-the-art-facilities with ease and convenience."
"Our self-service branch exemplifies the future of banking in Nigeria and we remain committed to putting You, our customers First."
The FirstBank Digital Experience Centre is piloted by the Banks remodelled Adetokunbo Ademola branch, Victoria Island.
Nigeria in focus
GDP: $432.294 billion in 2020 compared to $448.12 billion in 2019
Population: 206,139,587 in 2020 compared to 200,963,03 in 2019
GDP per capita: $2,097 in 2020 compared to $2,229 in 2019