Changing customer behaviors driving branch transformation programme at Mashreq

Source: Mashreq Bank

In response to the evolving customer needs, Mashreq Bank, one of the leading financial institution in the UAE, today announced details of the next phase of its digital transformation strategy.

Retail banks in the region are witnessing a significant shift in consumer habits, with customers increasingly migrating to online and mobile banking while others demand for advisory services at the branch.

The widespread interest in more personalized and automated services has led Mashreq to unveil a reimagined branch format, the first of its kind in the UAE. The bank will now have distinct types of branches: consisting of Full Format Branches, Express, Express Business, Express Gold and Smart Branches.

The new branch model at Mashreq blends digital innovation with the services of a traditional branch to allow customers seamless and quick interaction. The new concept, with an increased focus towards automated services, offers a whole suite of functionalities including; an integrated self-service area with kiosks, ATMs, Cash and Cheque Deposit Machines, Slim Lines, Bulk Cash Deposit and Recycler; Interactive Teller Machines (ITM) and Video conferencing services to allow customers to reach out to the bank beyond regular banking hours.

To support customers’ needs at the new branches, Mashreq has also introduced the concept of a Universal Banker - a highly trained officer who will be available to assist customers for transactions, through digital devices.

Subroto Som, Executive Vice President, Head of Retail Banking Group, Mashreq Bank: “The financial sector in the region and beyond is witnessing a digital disruption. The changes in customer behavior and developments in technology have led banks to transform their networks into futuristic formats to make it more convenient to customers. Banks are considering branch transformation as an ongoing and evolutionary process as opposed to a one-off upgrade. Mashreq Bank has been making strategic investments that has revolutionized our operations and transformed us into a smart, connected and agile bank that is ready for the future.”

“From a customer standpoint, they will have far greater convenience and more touchpoints. In addition, dedicated advisors will be readily available to offer support and human element that no technology can replace. From Mashreq’s perspective, the digitisation of the bank’s services will radically simplify the business while allowing our staff to focus on improving the customer experience dramatically through greater efficiency, quality, and speed,” further added Som.

Coinciding with the launch of its new branch strategy, Mashreq Bank unveiled its latest digitally enhanced branch in Al Muraqqabat, the first of what will be a new generation of branches across the UAE. The new branch utilizes the best in-class technologies to offer convenient banking solutions allowing customers to benefit from a vast range of services in a one-stop digital environment.

Aladdin Al Deesi, Regional Head of Distribution, Mashreq Bank said: “As part of our overarching branch transformation strategy, we aim two achieve two fold objectives. Firstly, we are significantly improving the quality of the services we offer to our customers. By digitizing our operations, we are serving customers more efficiently in the branch but also on the go, which makes their life easier. Secondly, the “one-stop banking” approach of the Universal Bankers will bring greater customer satisfaction. With more transactions migrated to machines, our branch staff have more time to offer a better personalized experience to the customers without worrying about them waiting in a conventional queue.”

Mashreq’s new state-of-the-art retail banking branch incorporates the revolutionary open store design in a more spacious and customer friendly environment, and will serve as the prototype for its branches of the future. Designed around the customer, it will give them customized solutions -- products, services and information -- where, how and when they want them.

“We have observed a remarkable shift in the expectations and banking habits of our customers. Today, automated transactions across all the branches are as high as 97 percent. Going forward, we will be growing the number of touch points across the UAE - by increasing the number of ATMs, ITMs, CCDMs, and cash dispensing machines and other digital touch points. As part of this strategy, we have already introduced two smart branches in Mercato and Festival City, and more such branches will be introduced in the near future,” further added Al Deesi.

The announcements reinforces Mashreq Bank’s position as a digital banking leader in the UAE and a key player in the regional banking industry. With its new reimagined branch formats, Mashreq aims to solidify its position as a regional banking leader with its first-to-market digital banking services that offers customers a modern, quick and simple banking experience.

Mashreq Bank also recently announced that it will invest AED 500 million over the next five years towards digital innovation and transformation, expanding the bank’s overarching digitisation strategy. As digital simplifies the banking experience in branches, an important aspect of Mashreq Bank’s digital transformation strategy focuses on training and redeploying its workforce.

“Our human capital is one of our biggest assets. Blending the best in digital technology with the power of people will make the difference between good and great when it comes to customer experience. We are putting together plans to retrain employees, which in turn will ensure we have some of the most skilled and tech-savvy workforce of any bank in the country; a move that is paramount to achieving our digital transformation goals and reinforce our position as a market leader in the region,” concluded Som.

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