Raising the bar on branch banking

07/11/2017

 

CEO's Notes



APS Bank's CEO Notes

 

The opening of the new APS Bank branch on Tower Road, Sliema marks a new standard in local retail banking. A journalist asked me ‘why?’, in a world of internet, mobile and contactless.

The branch has been the traditional retail point that connects with customers. An important part of the delivery chain and a key brand component. But like other retailers, the brick-and-mortar branch has been under pressure from digital technology. Even common sense economics seems to suggest this, with real estate becoming more expensive while the cost of technology decreases. New technologies and their rate of adoption by customers are in fact leading banks to look at one of two segmentation strategies: ‘disruption’, in which banks become entirely digital and deal with only digital customers, and ‘evolution’, where neither the branch customer nor the digital customer is excluded. Surveys, even locally, show that for many different reasons the physical and the virtual will both continue to shape the bank of the future.

Convenient branch locations remain vital for retail business, help customer retention and engender loyalty. When last year we engaged the international consulting firm I-AM to develop for us a new branch design standard, we knew that their approach was to re-define the entire customer experience. Starting with profiling of customers, their habits, behaviours and requirements, the need to keep traffic flowing, creating more interactivity and energy in the branch.

The modern branch is a meeting place where customers go to buy financial services, receive support and advice in an environment and to a schedule that fits their lifestyle. The result is a fresh, innovative and progressive look that puts the customer central - the ethos of APS Bank.

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