South Africa's Absa has opened a 'test lab' bank branch in Johannesburg to help it trial new products and technology with real customers.
The branch will focus on prototyping technology, such as interactive touch screens providing product information and 'quick service enquiry' systems that let customers carry out transactions without having to queue to see a teller.
Bobby Malabie, chief executive, retail and business banking, Absa, says: "This Branch of Tomorrow, Today, shows that Absa is actively listening and responding to customer needs and finding ways to meet their needs through simple and innovative banking solutions."
Absa's rival, FNB, is also moving to automate processes, recently opening three 'cashless branches' in Johannesburg. The self-service sites let customers bank online and talk to experts via video-conferencing.
Not to be outdone, a third South African bank is also revamping its branch offering: Nedbank has opened a site in Johannesburg that includes features such as an 'intelligent depositor' ATM, self-service machines and free Wi-Fi.