India’s largest bank State Bank of India (SBI) has introduced six digital branches across the country to offer banking solutions to its Internet and mobile customer base.
Branded as SBI InTouch, these branches are currently operational in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad with the Kolkata branch expected to be opened shortly. These bank will be open all seven weekdays but sadly it wouldn’t be operational round the clock, rather it will be operational for 12 hours (10 am to 10 pm).
The bank has tied up with Accenture for this initiative, which apparently helped the bank in designing the branch layouts, implementing the digital processes and technology at each of these branches, and provided back-end integration, including employee training.
Accenture mentions that these banks will feature of a number of digital banking facilities like multi-functional kiosks for instant account opening with personalised debit cards, transferring funds, withdrawing and depositing cash and providing instant in-principal loan approvals (home, auto and education).
It will also feature “expert pods” through which expert advisors would be available via high-definition video conferencing to answer customer queries. It will also feature an online booth to allow customers manage their accounts and enroll for online banking services, if they haven’t already.
Besides this, these digital branches are apparently equipped with interactive wall and table displays to allow customers plan their finances.
SBI’s digital services offerings
This year SBI has launched quite a few initiatives to expand its digital services offerings, for both customers and merchants.
In March, SBI launched a new payments solution for merchants called SBIePay. At the time of the launch SBIePay offered real-time credit card, debit card, net banking and mobile payment transaction validation processes. Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment platform (EBPP) was also part of the plan.
Last month, SBI had also partnered with Bangalore-based mobile point of sale (PoS) payments startup Ezetap. Ezetap was entrusted with the task of deploying 500,000 PoS terminals over the next 5 years. These PoS terminals will be available for SBI customers, as well as its five associate banks.
State Bank of India had also launched a prepaid mobile wallet service called Mobicash Easy in January this year, that allows users to transfer funds and make bill payment among others. The bank had appointed Oxigen as its technology partner and the wallet was powered by Oxigen’s Wallet Technology Platform and Management.
In April 2012, private sector bank ICICI Bank had launched 25 self service e-branches across 18 cities including in metro and tier II cities for enabling 24×7 banking transactions. It had also introduced ‘Tab Banking’ that allows customers to open ICICI bank account on a tablet from their home or office and virtual E-Lockers which can be used to safely store electronically scanned copies of important documents.
Last September, it had also introduced a Facebook banking app called Pockets which enabled ICICI customers to carry out banking transactions on Facebook.
(With Inputs from Vikas SN)