The UK's Alliance & Leicester has opened the first of its new concept branches, part of a direct banking strategy it is implementing in a bid to cut costs.
Richard Pym, A&L chief executive, said last month that the bank is stepping up plans to encourage customers to use direct banking services in an attempt to cut the ratio of cost-to-income at A&L's retail bank to under 50% by 2010.
As part of the direct banking drive, A&L has unveiled its first new concept branch in Brighton in an effort to provide customers with more self-service options in addtion to a traditional branch counter service.
The branch has been kitted out with new deposit ATMs which enable customers to pay cash directly into card-based bank accounts and feature cheque scanning technology for hassle-free direct cheque deposit.
A bank of telephones has also been provided in a private area of the banking hall for customers who need to speak to specialist customer services staff.
Cathy Otero, manager of the re-vamped branch, says: "Customers will benefit enormously from the new design allowing them to bank in a relaxed, modern and welcoming environment.
"The enhanced self-service facilities within the branch are exactly what today's customers demand from their bank and ensures that they have quicker access to our existing team of specialist staff."