I know it’s strange to be blogging about branch banking, of all things. But, just when I’m ready to write off branch banking for good, I hear of some development that makes me sit up and take notice. This time, it’s the opening of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank’s swanky new branch in London, at One Hyde Park, where a single apartment sold for… hold your breath… £136 million!
And then I heard of a home automation solutions company, which has built a massive fully automated luxury home in Manhattan to show what its technology can do. Which is a lot. Everything in the house – from lighting to climate to ambience to equipment to security – can be controlled remotely through Apple devices, from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection!
Which got me thinking. What if ADIB (or some other Bank) were to automate their branch to create the most high tech environment, to go with its expensive exterior? Wouldn’t that be the ultimate in coolness? A great way to catch their clients’ attention or curiosity, at the very least?
Going back to the home automation story, although the “experience center” (as the company calls it) is modeled on a scale few of us can imagine, let alone afford, the company says that home automation is actually quite affordable. Which mean that ordinary branches could have it too. Why is that good? Imagine a customer walks in with an urgent request while the relationship manager is on the road. One phone call to the RM, and he could potentially switch on his computer, or activate a video wall, or run a presentation at the branch, using his iPhone! Or imagine that a negligent teller forgets to switch off the lights in his cubicle. One click, and its done.
To me, this sounds like a way to improve branch efficiency, productivity and service, not to mention, coolness quotient. What do you think?