Banking branches have to become more service-focused in shopping centres, a panel representing South African major banks said at the congress of the South African Council of Shopping Centres, on Thursday.

Rudi Posthumus, head of networking, planning and placement at Absa, said the bank was opening smaller branches because paperwork had been replaced by a digital system. In a slow-growth economy, cost per branch had become very important.

There was still a need for human interaction and tools inside branches to help customers bank online, said Anton van Metzinger, head for digital platforms at FNB Business.

"Mobile banking is the safest way to do banking. We have to have staff that can help customers get the most out of their mobile banking," he said.

Alan Cawdry, Nedbank Card Division’s regional manager for Western Cape, said cellphones were used across SA and so rural and urban dwellers had to be able to bank on their mobiles.

Nitesh Patel, head for group real-estate services at Standard Bank, said bankers could no longer be arrogant and expect customers to come to them.

"We need to bring banking to our customers," he said.

Please sign in or register to comment.