The goal of the branch initiative launched by Bawag P.S.K., one of the largest bank groups in Austria and a leading retail customer bank for the country's middle class, is to operate around 500 locations throughout Austria together with Österreichische Post AG by the end of 2012.
Wincor Nixdorf is the IT solution partner to the Austrian bank, which is steeped in tradition, and also operates the self-service systems. Implementation is proceeding apace and successfully: By mid-2012, around 380 branches throughout Austria had been overhauled and modernized, restructured and fitted with state-of-the-art equipment. As a result, BAWAG P.S.K. and Österreichische Post will offer a one-stop shop with their full range of banking and postal services - and enhance their image with the resultant advantages they are able to offer customers.
A key asset of the new branch concept is the creation of a new extensive self-service zone in the lobby, which can be accessed in all urban areas around the clock, meaning that for the first time BAWAG P.S.K's customers will be able to use automated teller machines, self-service devices for remittances, withdrawals and deposits, self-service scanners, statement printers, cash deposit machines and multi-functional devices outside opening hours in a generously dimensioned ambience. The partner helping to implement this new self-service network along with the software platform is one of the world's leading providers of IT solutions: Wincor Nixdorf.
Arno Wohlfahrter, Head of Retail Customer Sales at BAWAG P.S.K., has a clear objective: "We want to offer the very best service to customers anytime and anywhere." Successful restructuring of the branch network means this objective will be within grasp. By the beginning of 2013, BAWAG P.S.K. and Österreichische Post will deliver 100% coverage nationwide with their branches."
As Christian Weisser, General Manager Wincor Nixdorf Austria, comments: "BAWAG P.S.K. has opted in favor of a unique end-to-end service offering for Austria, comprising self-service software based on an open, network-centric architecture, cutting-edge CINEO hardware technology, vendor field service and operation of the central IT infrastructure from Wincor Nixdorf as the sole provider. More than 1,500 terminals will be newly installed by the start of 2013 and will offer BAWAG P.S.K.'s customers state-of-the-art services."
End-to-end integration from a single source
It is not only consumers who will benefit. The leading-edge self-service infrastructure will also deliver a raft of process improvements. One example: At the old branches, it was possible to deposit coins using self-service systems. Customers were then issued with a receipt from the device, which they then had to take to the counter, where the transaction was posted manually. The coin deposit systems are now connected online using the new PC/E software platform from Wincor Nixdorf and transactions are posted immediately to the BAWAG P.S.K. customer's account.
Simple implementation of end-to-end processes like this one was a crucial factor in persuading BAWAG P.S.K. to choose a single provider for the hardware and software. After weighing up the pros and cons of a single- or multi-vendor strategy, BAWAG P.S.K. opted for an integrated end-to-end solution.
Jens Bohlen, Senior Vice President Services at Wincor Nixdorf International, commented: "We were able to master the challenge of implementing an extensive new self-service software platform, a mass hardware rollout and central operation of the software platform in such a short space of time thanks to highly motivated teams at BAWAG P.S.K. and Wincor Nixdorf and by using industry standards and processes."
Multi-stage expansion of the software platform
Wincor Nixdorf expanded the software platform as part of a multi-stage project. Now that the functions of the self-service systems have been mapped with PC/E, the next step is to integrate the direct marketing software component. The software could then help give BAWAG P.S.K. an answer to a key question: What do customers need and what can we offer them when and where?
Branch initiative - synergy effects yield enormous benefits for customers
"The branch initiative with its synergy effects from jointly offering banking and postal services under one roof give customers enormous advantages," is Arno Wohlfahrter's conviction. "Opening times have been lengthened considerably and many branches are even open on Saturdays (from 9 a.m. to 12 noon), i.e. bank consultants are on hand to offer advice to customers then." He adds that, both in terms of sales and overall, the new concept was a success model and had helped the bank reposition itself in the eyes and minds of customers.
As a result of the branch restructuring, BAWAG P.S.K. and Österreichische Post AG have jointly seized a historic opportunity to further deepen their existing longstanding cooperation. Both partners share branches, whose areas range from 50 to 300 square meters. A unique color concept helps customers find their bearings inside: A fresh yellow indicates the post office and a warm red guides them to BAWAG P.S.K. and its offerings.
If the website of BAWAG P.S.K. is inviting, clear and modern, the ambience the bank now offers its customers in its modernized branches and self-service zones is more than a match. The first 330 branches were refurbished by the end of 2011, a figure that will rise to 470 by the end of 2012. The project will have been completed once the total of 520 branches are up and running in the first quarter of 2013.