First National Bank of South Africa is mobilising its physical presence in rural outposts with the opening of its first branch inside a converted shipping container.
The fully equipped container-branch caters for transactional banking, teller services, an ATM and an ADT, enabling customers to deposit cheques, prepaid purchases, opening Savings and investment accounts and the option to apply for a loan.
Lee-Ann van Zyl, CEO of FNB points of presence, says: “South Africa still has a large section of the population that has limited access to banking facilities and we want to turn this around. The first step for us was to think about an innovative way of delivering a full suite of banking facilities to rural communities in a convenient fashion."
The mobile units come in a number of shapes and sizes, from a standard single container to multiple units welded together to extend the branch footprint. Taking just three months to kit out, the investment cost is significantly cheaper than for fully-fledged bricks and mortar, ranging from £90,000 for a basic unit, to £135,000 for a high-end container.
FNB is not the first bank to look to the shipping industry for a solution to low-cost branch expansion. Tangerine Bank has also opened four temporary pop-up locations in shipping containers across Canada as a way of introducing customers to its direct banking channels.