KBC reveals plans for unmanned branches

Belgium’s KBC bank has announced plans to convert 66 of its Flanders-based locations into unmanned branches where customers can complete banking transactions at self-service terminals.

Forming part of the bank’s omnichannel strategy, the changes will also see eight existing branches close and fully merge with another nearby branch, while the number of existing full-service branches that are open for longer will be doubled to 145 – spread evenly across all provinces.

The bank recognised that an increasing number of customers were using digital channels to communicate with it, reflected in more contact being made using the KBC Live service, greater use of KBC Touch and KBC Mobile, and a decline in the number of off-the-street visits to branches.

Last year, 130,000 additional customers began using one of the KBC digital channels. At the start of February this year, more than 1.1 million customers were banking on their smartphone or tablet, and more than 1.2 million were using KBC Touch.

According to KBC, the changes to its stores, which will start to be implemented at the end of 2018, will not have any impact on staff numbers. Employees will either be transferred to a neighbouring branch or deployed to KBC Live.

The bank stated: “In reality, customers are not going as often to bank branches, but when they do, KBC wants to ensure that they receive the best possible service. Therefore, it has been looking in recent years for solutions that would enable it to cater more flexibly for its customers. The role of the bricks and mortar branch has been reaffirmed, but will be slightly different than before.”

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