HARARE – Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) says the opening of its relocated Avondale branch underscores the financial institution’s commitment to provide an ambient and convenient banking environment for its customers.
Harton Maliki, the bank’s head of retail banking in Zimbabwe, said the relocation of the branch was necessitated by changing technological changes in the international banking system.
“Banking has changed from brick and mortar to banking on the go, hence retail banking no longer need huge space for branches. While branches are still relevant today, we no longer need as much space,” he said.
He added that the technological advances in the digital space, as reflected by increase of mobile and online banking and clients’ demanding fast, convenient and accessible real time banking solutions also contributed to the bank’s decision to relocate.
The latest development comes as StanChart is working on its optimisation strategy to refurbish branches across the country to meet world class standards.
“In this regard, the Avondale relocation forms part of our continuing agenda to position the branches in best fit and accessible locations. This is an ongoing exercise which is set to continue, as seen by the merging of Belmont and Bulawayo branch, and the biggest beneficiary will be our clients,” Maliki said.
StanChart, which is Zimbabwe’s oldest financial institution, developed a strategy that is aimed at reducing excess space by creating lean and cost effective branches with more emphasis on digital touch points.
Maliki revealed that the financial institution has so far spent over $7,1 million on the project so far.
A total of 12 branches would be renovated under the optimisation project. Three of the branches have already been completed which are Robert Mugabe Branch in Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo.
Outstanding renovations to still be done and completed include branches in Marondera, Mutare, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Bindura, Chiredzi, Victoria Falls, Masvingo and Africa Unity Square.
The bank has a network of over 20 branches across the country, most of which are located in major urban centres.
The bank’s distribution network includes branches and prestige centres as well as 37 automated teller machines.
Maliki further indicated that StanChart was one of the advocates of technology with the financial institution globally having award winning digital platforms.
“We have been winners of the Global Finance Digital Consumer Bank for the past four years. We are happy to say our clients have come on board very quickly and adopted technology. We had our paperless campaign in September 2017 which saw over 90 percent of our clients migrating to our digital platforms. We will remain championing digital and technological advancement,” he said.
“We promise our clients that we will continue to reshape our business to meet the emerging trends so that we can serve them better, faster and faster. This will mean more optimisation of the network, repositioning of the existing network and introduction of new platforms,” Maliki added.