NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) today announced that Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF) is rapidly expanding its branch network in Saudi Arabia following trials of the first completely self-service 24-hour branches, branded "Fransi Connection", which were designed by NCR.
BSF's existing manned branches have also been remodeled by NCR to provide customers with self-service access to a wider range of quick and simple transactions, freeing up staff to focus on customer acquisition and product cross-selling.
Located in convenient shopping centre and business district locations, the self-service branches provide convenient drop-in centres around the clock for a wide range of rapid money management tasks. In addition, BSF is migrating many more customers to ATM, CAM "Cash Acceptance Machine", online banking, mobile banking and "IVR" phone self-service channels in its manned branches, freeing up staff from low-value tasks to sales-orientated roles. Up to 60 per cent of transactions required teller involvement in the past. Moving forward, the mix within the branch will average 30:70 between assisted- and
International and inter-account transfers can also be carried out at the Financial Kiosk. Around a quarter of the Saudi population are foreign nationals, mostly from the Asian sub-continent, creating demand for easy access to this service. The ATMs, CAMs & financial kiosks also offer a mix of bill payment, IPO (Initial Public Offerings) subscription, statement printing, statement request and credit card cash advance services, as well as the more usual cash withdrawal and cheque and cash deposit functionality.
NCR Retail kiosks are available in the self-service and manned branches which can be used to browse product information and for online banking access, complementing free phones offering telephone help. In fact, BSF customers could perform up to 90 per cent of their transactions in the self-service zone. As part of the project, NCR has developed consistent screen layouts for both the kiosks and ATMs which are designed to be highly intuitive and help consumer adoption of the newly available transactions.
The new branches feature digital screens for multi-media advertising. This will help generate customer enquiries in the assisted service zone which features a welcome desk, waiting area, sales and service desks and an advisory room. The digital media technology means campaigns can be rolled out instantly throughout BSF's entire branch network or to specific outlets according to the branch catchment area.
The NCR Design Centre brought leading international retail designers Dalziel + Pow into the project team to add retail expertise to NCR's financial expertise. A series of workshops were held with the bank to focus on BSF's objectives for its business and demonstrate how the bank can continue to deliver on its brand promise of providing a high quality and efficient service to its customers through great design.
Mr Hashem Al Alawai, Virtual Banking Division Manager at BSF, comments, "Increased competition from both local and international financial service providers means BSF needs to continuously evolve its service offer. With its breadth of expertise in hardware, software and consultancy NCR was able to design new, contemporary branches that will appeal to our customers, including Saudi Arabia's young, affluent and rapidly growing population."
Around 60 per cent of Saudi Arabia's 24 million inhabitants are under 20 years of age and the population is forecast to grow by at 3 per cent per annum - one of the fastest rates of increase in the world.* Combined with the effects of the rapidly growing economy in Saudi Arabia, this is creating strong demand for BSF's mortgage, loan and saving products.
The new BSF self-service branches can be built and opened in a matter of months to meet this demand in contrast to the manned branches which are subject to strict licensing rules by the Saudi central bank with projects taking up to year to complete.
Charlie Rohan, NCR's Director of Consumer Experience, comments, "NCR worked closely with BSF to design flexible self-service and manned branches for BSF's combination of existing, newly purchased and leased premises. NCR's modular design concept enables the configuration and layout of the self-service zone to be adapted quickly for any location, depending on the transaction requirements and space constraints of each site."
Following the successful three branch pilot in Riyadh, BSF is opening a further three self-service branches kingdom wide during the month of February 2009 and has an ongoing programme of refreshing its existing, manned branch network.
The branches feature the new NCR Selfserv Series 22 and 32 multi-function ATMs, an NCR Selfserv Series cash and cheque deposit terminal, NCR financial kiosks and telephone point for direct access to BSF customer call centre, depending on the space constraints and transaction demand in each location.
The new NCR SelfServ range of ATMs have self-healing capability enabling the machines to reset themselves in the event of a platform or software problem - one of a number of features which will help to further increase ATM availability.
*Data from UK Trade & Investment