Mashreq launches UAE’s first fully automated branch

Bank plans to open four imashreq branches across the UAE during 2015

Tags: Banking and financeMashreqUnited Arab Emirates
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Mashreq launches UAE’s first fully automated branch Irani: "The key drivers behind Mashreq's innovation initiatives is ‘Omni-channel convergence', and is aimed at migrating our current physical and traditional distribution channels to a resilient and robust digital business model."
By  Helen Gaskell Published  February 4, 2015

Mashreq bank has today launched the region's first fully automated branch. At the Deira city centre metro station.

The bank's first iMashreq branch will have no staff, but will use the latest technologies for customers to be able to do all their banking as they would in a regular manned branch. Using the PCs, touch screens, atms and other devices, customers will be able to open an account, make a utility payment, apply for a new credit card, apply for a loan, deposit into their savings account or transfer money.

Farhad Irani, head of retail banking group attended the launch of the new concept and said, "Mashreq is setting the precedent for everyday banking in the region, and is already seeing its market share increasing as a result of its innovative leadership. The key drivers behind Mashreq's innovation initiatives is ‘Omni-channel convergence', and is aimed at migrating our current physical and traditional distribution channels to a resilient and robust digital business model. 

"Consistent with Dubai's vision to transform the Emirates into the smartest city in the world, we want to play a role in achieving that. No longer intent on just providing traditional banking services and products, the bank is executing its multi distribution strategy to become the everyday bank and primary financial partner of the consumer."

In 2013, Mashreq rolled-out the concept of the eCube branch where customers could carry out their everyday banking transactions using the latest technology.

Shaker Fareed Abdul Rahman Zainal, regional head of distribution, SVP told ITP.net that the idea for the branch is an extension of the bank's strategy in  guiding customers to migrate to alternative channels. Describing the new branch as part of a journey, he said: "We are experimenting, we want to see if our customers will use the branch but we plan to open more. When we opened the first ATM twenty years ago, a lot of people said that nobody will use it, they said the same with the eCube branches and the touch screens but we have had a lot of feedback and it's been really successful."

The branch also offers Mashreq VTM (virtual teller machine), which delivers self-service, video-enabled engagement between Mashreq customers and the bank's call center, and have access to various banking services.

Powered by Avaya SmartEngage, the service will also enable Mashreq customers to apply for various bank services and products, including cheque books and bank statements, update customer records such as addresses and trade licenses, and initiate a video-chat with the Mashreq's customer agents.

Yaser Al Zubaidi, Avaya Engagment Solutions sales lead, told ITP.net: "The main benefit of the machine is that it allows the bank to expand without having the cost of employing more people and this solution can be anywhere in the UAE."

Rudolph Khoury, account director, Avaya, spoke about the security of the a machine: "Everything is secure, it is the same as in any branch, you will scan documents and the person at the other end will receive the scan. In phase two when you will be able to scan your Emirates ID and your fingerprint there will be a double layer of security. The experience of using the VTM is also fully recorded."

Phase two of the VTM's development will mean that customers will be able to open accounts through the machine and the machine will give them a debit card and cheque book immediately.

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