Just the other day, we talked about the need of having plenty of ‘Cash Deposit Machines’ that will significantly reduce the need to go to the bank personally. Well, ICICI Bank has something more for you. It wants you to visit their branches, but instead of the bank staff, you will be greeted by plethora of ‘machines’ or ‘Kiosks’, if you’d like call them. Starting with the Cash Deposit machine, to Check deposits, Internet Banking kiosk, a phone to do phone banking and if needed, a video conference facility to talk to ‘real staff’.
As one can imagine, this setup is essentially a self-service one which doesn’t need any bank staff to be at the venue and hence will be available 24×7. Sensibly, ICICI Bank calls these as e-Branches (e for electronic, obviously). To kick off, the bank has opened 25 such e-Branches across 18 different cities in India and will wait to see response from the people before opening such new branches in other cities and towns.
Will e-Branches work?
Well, the concept isn’t anything new but in India and that too for the common man, it surely is new. And 25 e-Branches spread out in whole India is not a big deal. It is obvious that these will initially be installed in fairly affluent areas of a city. The real test will only arrive when they open such branches in poorer areas, people who really visit branches to get their work done. But then, Poor and ICICI don’t fit together, anyway.
In other related news, the bank has also introduced something called as ‘Tab Banking’. And no it’s not a banking app for Galaxy Tab. For those who want to open an account in ICICI bank but don’t want to leave their house, the bank will send its representatives to either their home or office, with a ‘Tab’, which will scan and copy all the KYC documents information and take a picture of the new customer, without the need of paper, or so I assume.
Keeping aside whether I love or hate ICICI Bank, I really have to admit that I’m a big fan of the bank when it comes to its usage of technology in banking. Just to let you know, the bank is also adding more feature to its ‘Facebook banking’.