The First National Bank has on Tuesday launched a mobile banking unit, a first for the SA financial services market, in a bid to extend banking services to unbanked rural communities.
The mobile unit, which was unveiled in Johannesburg, is a transformed shipping container that is equipped with state-of-the-art banking infrastructure such as an ATM, ADT (automated deposit terminal) and teller services.
Lee-Ann van Zyl, chief executive of FNB points of presence, said the Phumulani Mall in Tembisa would be the first recipient of the mobile unit as it would be temporarily placed in the area to help residents access banking services following a natural disaster last week.
Van Zyl said the mobile unit was initially intended for the community of Mutale in Limpopo.
“South Africa still has a large section of the population that has limited access to banking facilities and we want to turn this around,” Van Zyl said.
“The first step for us was to think about an innovative way of delivering a full suite of banking facilities to rural communities in a convenient fashion.”
Van Zyl said FNB decided to introduce a fully equipped mobile banking unit that catered for transactional banking, teller services, an ATM and an ADT, to enable customers to deposit cheques, prepaid purchases, opening savings and investment accounts and the option to apply for a loan.
“Innovation is a big part of FNB’s ethos and as a business we encourage everyone to play a role in coming up with ideas that not only challenge convention, but address customer needs and increase efficiency,” Van Zyl said.
As FNB’s mobile banking units are movable, Van Zyl said if it was not longer responsive to the banking needs of a particular area it could simply be moved to another location.
She said the new mobile banking unit was a result of the bank’s internal innovation which encouraged employees to solve real-life problems.
“We are consistently looking at ways of making banking accessible to all South Africans,” Van Zyl said. “This is evident in our constant review of our footprint and through electronic channels that provide for easy access to banking without having to walk into a branch.”
– African News Agency (ANA)