Standard Chartered Hong Kong rolls out digital branch
Standard Chartered Hong Kong has opened its first ‘digital’ branch, in which customers are greeted by giant screen TVs, the bank’s mobile apps in a special experience zone, and QR code scanning on an iWall, as well as e-signature pads and virtual queuing.
The idea behind the concept branch, on Des Voeux Road in Hong Kong’s Central district, is to take advantage of “major lifestyle changes” in Hong Kong as customers adopt mobile technology. The branch is a centre in which customers interact through technology, while the bank can experiment with new ways of engaging the consumer.
Features of the branch include an SCB Channel TV Wall that screens views on investment trends and market news, an interactive desk with e-brochures, Breeze mobile banking, internet access and online banking, a self financial planner self-service machine, paperless meetings with scanners, e-signature pads and interactive projectors, the ‘Breeze Experience Zone’ where customers can check out nearby credit card offers and download Breeze apps, and digital posters and videos on all wall surfaces.
“Digitisation has become one of our top priorities as we strive to create a superior banking experience for our customers,” said Benjamin Hung, executive director and chief executive of Standard Chartered Hong Kong. “Following the successful launch of our Breeze mobile banking platform, we are now taking retail banking to the next level with the Des Voeux Road Branch. With the innovative technology and user-friendly features at this digital branch, simple banking services can now be done through digital channels and transactions are settled more efficiently.”
The concept of a digital branch is not entirely new. Several experiments have been tried in recent years, including a digital-only branch in Brazil where there are no human staff, as well as an ING initiative in San Francisco USA where staff were trained to make lattes and the branch effectively became a cafe serving cakes, snacks and hot drinks.
The Standard Chartered digital branch in Hong Kong is in line with the findings of a study by IT firm GFT Technologies, which argued that banks need to ensure their branches meet the needs of the 21st century client, meaning providing an interactive experience that is “as much about entertainment as it is about banking”. The tools to make that a reality consist of widescreen TVs, interactive touch-screen displays, availability of iPads and other interactive smart devices. The idea is that most simple teller transactions are being automated, while the branch itself will then evolve into more of a ‘financial advice centre’ for handling more complex interactions.