While many banks are closing branches, African Bank says it intends to defy the trend and expand its physical footprint in South Africa.
The bank has also announced the addition of hundreds of new ‘banking pods’ and kiosks, which it claims will boost client access.
“Our research shows that, despite the increase in digital use, a large percentage of customers still value the flexibility of our offering and the ability to interact with the bank in their own communities,” said Sibongiseni Ngundze, African Bank’s group executive for sales and distribution.
“One of the key drivers of our African Bank strategy is the expansion and optimisation of our distribution infrastructure to better service our customers. The introduction of banking kiosks and pods represents an acceleration towards those strategic aims.”
Kiosks and pods will expand African Bank’s distribution network from 400 to 930 outlets by 2025. This will complement the bank’s existing physical and mobile branch network, as well as its digital and telephonic products, and will provide a presence in places where none now exist, according to the bank.
African Bank launched a new mobile branch fleet last year with the goal of reaching existing and potential customers closer to their homes.
“Through these vehicles, we provide full-service banking as a useful service to support and empower rural areas who have traditionally had no or restricted access to financial services.” “Our network of pods and kiosks builds on this successful model by providing the same services,” Ngundze explained.
“As we grow, we will deploy in rural locations where unbanked people remain high and our customers’ desire to contact with the bank physically,” he said.