Even digital banks need customer interface
Opening the transactional bank’s first client service centre in Wernhil Park shopping mall in Windhoek this week, Mukete said “our new service centre is part of ongoing innovation and responsiveness at EBank to fulfil our clients’ desire for more points of face-to-face interaction – a place to ask questions, a place to get assistance in opening of accounts, and a place to get information on how to use the free EBank electronic channels.”
When EBank was launched in November last year, its stated strategy was not to open physical branches but instead, to focus on transactional services through a network of retail vendors. This was cited as a means to keep operational costs down to ensure affordability, one of the pillars of the Financial Services charter.
However, 8 months later, the realities of retail banking have overtaken the newcomer’s ideals and it realised a service centre was needed. “Since launch, we have seen massive growth in client numbers, exceeding even our own expectations and forecasts. In November 2014 alone, over 12,000 clients opened an EBank Solution which includes a transaction account and a free 32-day notice savings account” said Mukete indicating that the sheer number of new clients has forced the fledgling bank to reconsider its digital strategy.
“More and more clients are using their EBank accounts for airtime and electricity purchases. Electronic Fund Transfers are also on the increase as clients use it to either receive their salaries or make and receive payments to or from any other bank account,” he added.
“In addition to our retail partner network, EBank offers a telephonic client service [which] deals with several hundred queries per day. We understand from our client base that in addition to face to face contact at EZones at retail outlets, there is still a need to increase points of personal contact,” he explained.
The EBank Service Centre in the Wernhil shopping complex is located in a busy lane with high shopper traffic. “We have created a space for clients to sit down and talk to our friendly and energetic Service Centre staff, in an environment that is uniquely EBank in look and feel,” said Mukete.
Helen Bosshart, the Wernhil property manager at Broll Namibia, said, “On behalf of Ohlthaver & List and Broll Namibia we express our delight in the opening of the first EBank branch at Wernhil Park. With Wernhil Park’s 25th Anniversary this year, we are proud to host an average of 1.2 million visitors to this shopping centre every month.”