AfrAsia Bank puts innovation in the limelight with its digital flagship branch
Left to right: Arnaud Lagesse, Chairman of AfrAsia Bank, and central bank Governor, Rundheersing Bheenick, inaugurate AfrAsia bank’s new digital flagship branch at Ebène, the first of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa. (Image: Marie-Lorry Coret)
Mauritius’ banking sector is diving deep into the digital era with the official launch of AfrAsia bank’s new digital flagship branch at Ebène, yesterday, October 24, 2014. The branch, a first of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa, features a larger-than-life 84” inch multi-touch digital wall to enable its clients to discover the bank’s services.
With this multi-touch digital wall at the Ebène branch, customers can use state-of-art technology, such as interactive walls with touch screen functionality, or receive full-service banking from AfrAsia’s branch staff, making the bank a digital hub where technology meets human interaction.
With the trend of digitalization, AfrAsia bank has designed this flagship branch boasting pioneering digital features, thus enhancing the customer experience journey through an 84-inch LG multi-touch digital wall (The I-Wall). It provides customers with access to market news, FX rates, updates, an overview of the bank’s offerings and discovering more about the AfrAsia brand.
Additionally, there are three 32-inch LG table displays (The I-Table), providing navigation through the bank’s website and microsites, and serving as a one-stop shop from product presentations to using an interactive financial calculator for loan amortization. There are also three 55-inch LG interactive displays (The I-Display), two representing digital notice boards showcasing Bank of Mauritius (BoM) mandatory documents, and another displaying information similar to the I-Wall.
The I-Wall serves as an interactive touch-point with customers, with the aim of deepening its engagement with the bank’s clients and visitors, while also allowing them to print any application document and fill in contact forms.
With the I-Displays, customers can obtain additional product information as well as details of promotions, rewards and latest news about the brand, among others.
In line with helping them to navigate through the I-Tables in comfort and privacy, consulting meeting pods dedicated to private bankers and their clients for comfort are also set out.
The Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, Rundheersing Bheenick, who was the chief guest at the event, stated that AfrAsia has turned into a force to reckon with, holding assets worth Rs 50 billion. He noted that the bank has extended its footprint as well as garnered many laurels, both locally and internationally.
“AfrAsia is set to revolutionize the distinct role of domestic branch banking with this digital branch, the first of its kind in Mauritius,” Governor Bheenick said.
According to him, as Ebène is known as Mauritius’ Cyber City, it is the right choice of location for this pioneering branch, and it is ideally situated with the highest concentration of the tech savvy population of the country.
He expressed the hope that where AfrAsia is leading the way today, other banks will follow, as banking is the result of a continuous digital revolution.
“The media and entertainment industries have championed the cause of the digital revolution so far, and it may now be the turn of the banking and payments sector to benefit from a similar radical transformation,” he noted.
With a mobile phone penetration of 120% of which nearly a third are smart phones, mobile banking is set to lead the way and take Mauritius to the world of digital banking.
Some push factors which drive transformation in the delivery of banking services are: changing consumer behavior and increasing expectations, while the biggest driver of all is technology, as the digital ecosystem can disrupt and dislocate millions of activities traditionally dominated by banks.
According to the latter, the banking industry finds itself walking a tightrope as it stands on a platform that is burning bright with technological innovation, and attracting intense competition from mobile operators, internet companies, and many others jostling for the same space.
“Bankers must not only defend their territory, but must also venture out to take up these new challenges. Their long term survival depends on how well they respond to the growing expectations of consumers,” Governor Bheenick mentioned.
He declared that banks need to reengineer outdated approaches and procedures and must reinvent themselves to adapt to the new digital ecosystem.
James Benoit, CEO of AfrAsia bank, said that AfrAsia bank continues to put technology at the heart of its business strategy and has recently redesigned its website, with dedicated microsites for its business lines to offer a seamless experience across devices like desktops, mobiles and tablets, offering a responsive interface.
“Transforming the branch to create a more interactive experience and giving clients the freedom to choose their own content when it suits them, are in line with our disruptive innovation philosophy. Our innovative use of technology adds another dimension to our communication with customers and simultaneously shows our commitment to develop with the customer at the centre, as their lifestyle evolves,” he added.
AfrAsia Bank continues to grow strongly in its niche after seven years since inception, consolidating its status as an important domestic lender.
Finally, according to Arnaud Lagesse, Chairman of AfrAsia Bank, the bank has established a strong domestic and global footprint with clients in more than 105 countries and representative offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and London.
“As the bank keeps on expanding, we have taken the opportunity to build a robust and complete business continuity capability at Ebène and pursue our disruptive journey in this innovative manner,” Arnaud Lagesse concluded.
- By Marie-Lorry Coret