Standard Bank apologises to customers over branch closures

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Standard Bank has apologised for inconveniencing its customers as a result of the closure of 104 branches countrywide within a short space of time.

The bank said impacted customers were informed via SMS and e-mail channels “as well as informational material placed at the impacted branches”, adding that a significant portion of its customers were shunning face-to-face type of interactions.

Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom apologised on Monday, responding to concerns raised by some customers, who expressed unhappiness with branch closures and removals of some automated teller machines in shopping centres.

Earlier this year, Africa’s biggest lender by assets announced plans to reconfigure its branch infrastructure, which were acted on immediately.

At the presentation of financial results for the year ending December 2018, Standard bank said in order to deliver the always-on, always-secure offering customers expect, “we have to leverage the strategic IT assets we have, accelerate our product development and rollout and digitise our execution processes. This will require a reallocation of resources from our physical to our digital channels and a concomitant reconfiguration of our branch infrastructure.”

The bank went on to announce a list of 104 branches, 49 in Gauteng, with a further 11 and 10 in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively.

In some cases the bank had been accused of closing branches in ‘poor areas’; Standard bank vehemently denied this. To date, one in every five Standard Bank branches that existed have been closed down.

Linstrom said customers have been encouraged to use other banking channels including Internet Banking, mobile app, cellphone banking as well as ATM’s, adding that Standard Bank still has more than 7 000 ATM’s across the country.

Standard bank said customers continue to migrate to its digital banking platforms, with mobile transaction values having increased 44% to R262 billion and transaction volumes having increased to R2.5 million a day.

“Customers have continued to migrate to digital platforms, in particular the SBG mobile app. Digital transaction volumes increased 26%, whilst face-to-face volumes declined 13% year-on-year,” Linstrom said.

With increased uptake of its digital products Standard Bank said security, trust and exceptional customer service are the cornerstone of its relationship with customers.

“Standard Bank is continuously adapting and monitoring its security and service protocols across all of its channels,” Linstrom said. “With Standard Bank’s online and mobile security features you can transact with confidence knowing that your accounts and your personal information are secure.”

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