24/7 Space by Procredit Bank offers innovative, independent banking
Procredit Bank has created a brand new product for its clients called 24/7 Space. This new space will have six terminals/machines, including a Cash-in ATM, and a DropBox, which is Procredit Bank’s exclusive innovation on the Georgian banking market. The bank’s clients (both natural persons and legal entities) will be able to conduct more than 80% of all banking operations quickly, comfortably, efficiently and independently. Most importantly, they won’t have to stand in a queue to do it… An interview with Director of Procredit Bank, Ketevan Khuskivadze.
Procredit Bank now offers the 24/7 Space. What’s the concept behind it?
We started forming the idea for 24/7 Space at the beginning of 2015. We decided to create an absolutely new concept for our clients. We wanted to create a completely unique service for the Georgian banking sector. This is a space where the clients have the opportunity to receive quick and easy services in a very comfortable environment. The speed of service is very important because our target group mainly encompasses representatives of small and medium-sized businesses. One of the reasons we began to think about the new concept, was the need to offer our clients something that meets their business needs, and to provide them a way to save as much time as possible. This is the main advantage of 24/7 Space.
For example, if a client wants to deposit funds on their account, they know that they must go to the bank during working hours. And often times, the client might have to stand in lines, which is an uncomfortable experience in itself. 24/7 Space takes away these two important inconveniences, and based on the title of the concept, the service will be accessible for our clients and users 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Procredit Bank clients won’t have to think about how to coordinate their visit with the bank’s hours of operation. The machines and terminals situated in the 24/7 Space will guarantee that service will be quicker and more efficient than the services provided by bank tellers.
What type of devices will 24/7 Space have? And what services will each machine provide the clients with?
Aside from the machines that are already widely used in the Georgian banking sector, we will also have machines that offer a completely new service. Procredit Bank will be the first bank in Georgia that introduces a cash-in ATM. This service, aside from enabling clients to withdraw money, also lets them deposit money on their accounts. The uniqueness of that machine is that the deposited sum is almost immediately reflected on the client’s account. The machine is capable of counting up to 50 banknotes at a time. In addition to the cash-in ATM, we will also have a conventional cash-out ATM.
Another innovative machine featured in the 24/7 Space is the DropBox machine, which is mostly intended for business clients. This is another innovation on the Georgian banking market, and I can say that we’re the first bank to introduce this novelty to Georgian banking customers. One can deposit a large amount into the machine without counting it, in other words, the bank doesn’t count the money when it is deposited; the client can indicate the sum online. The service is very unique, and always accessible to our clients. DropBox is especially important for clients whose liquidity is usually mobilized during the evening hours, and who wish to deposit those funds into their accounts. We know that it’s not easy to receive banking services at that time of day. 24/7 Space is intended exactly for that kind of customer. As for the Info Terminal, that is a machine with which clients can conduct their internet banking, access the bank’s website, view the rates, see branch and ATM locations, as well as get in touch with the call center.
I’d like to also talk about the business cards. We have expanded the functionality of the business card for our business clients, and made it more varied in comparison with the business cards offered by other banks. In the past, only one account was associated with this type of card, but now it’s possible to attach 8 accounts to a single card at the same time. In other words, a business client can manage 8 current accounts simultaneously. Other commercial banks don’t have such a developed and convenient business card at the moment.
So the 24/7 Space terminals are intended for both business and regular clients? Who is each machine intended for?
24/7 Space will contain six machines in total, these include the standard ATM, the cash-in ATM, the Drop Box machine, Info Terminal, a Pay Box and a Wooden box. All the machines except for the Pay Box can be used by the public; the Drop Box machine is intended for business clients. We have signed individual contracts with each of them, and they will be able to use that machine on the basis of those agreements. I must also say that the Drop Box and the cash-in ATMs are intended for Procredit Bank clients only, and clients of other banks won’t be able to use them.
In what form will 24/7 Space be accessible? Will it be housed inside various Procredit branches or does it have a separate office?
All 24/7 Spaces are housed on the ground floors of our branch offices, with no exceptions. This includes the regional branches. Each 24/7 Space contains a different number of machines based on the demand and activeness of our clients. However, each 24/7 Space has at least 6 machines. We used to have a space where customers could utilize self-service; those were about 10 square meter areas that featured several machines. 24/7 Space is different, because it contains a lot more machines.
We will finish renovating all the branch offices by the end of April. In June, we will open slightly different 24/7 Spaces in Tbilisi and Batumi branch offices – they are going to be our flagship branches. These particular 24/7 Spaces will be larger and more comfortable, and they will have a different design. The flagship branches will be accessible to all clients. In other words, they are not intended for only a particular group of clients. In addition, our two service offices (at the airport and near the Marjanishvili metro station) will only feature 24/7 Spaces, so those premises will not contain branch offices of the Bank or bank tellers. This is a place where all transactions can be carried out via self-service, that’s why we decided it would be unnecessary to post any employees in those locations.
So you have enabled your bank clients to carry out banking their operations independently by offering 24/7 Spaces?
We believe that by creating the 24/7 Spaces, we gave our clients maximum opportunities for independent banking. Our clients will be able to carry out more than 80% of all banking operations independently. Payments, wire transfers, deposits/ withdrawals – basically all banking operations will be accessible to them in one area, and most importantly, the transaction amounts have significantly been increased. We know the scale of the transactions made by our clients very well, so we took into account that information during our preparation of the 24/7 Spaces. This concept is generally new for Georgia. However, in developed countries it’s quite a widespread and popular way of receiving banking services.
Is Procredit Bank planning to offer new products to its clients in the future?
Before talking about future products, I’d like to tell you that we’re going to offer one additional machine to our clients. It is basically an ATM, but it’s called a High Volume Device. As I’ve already told you, our cash-in ATMs can accept up to 50 banknotes at a time. However, we thought that wouldn’t be enough for our business clients, hence the High Volume Device, which enables the user to deposit 300 banknotes at a time. We have a pilot version of that machine, and we plan to install it by June. That machine will also be an innovation within the Georgian banking sector.
As far as the new products, we’re planning to offer our clients ‘contactless cards’ in the near future. This is not a new product for the Georgian banking sector, but we’re very happy that Procredit Bank clients will also be able to use these cards. We also have an interesting novelty for our business clients – the ability to lend in cooperation with German Procredit Bank. However, that will be possible for only certain business clients - those that meet certain criteria, because the German Procredit Bank is also going to be involved in the credit process, and it has its own high standards. The distinguishing feature of this loan process is that it has a very low interest rate.
Are you planning to open new branch offices or expand the ATM network?
We’re constantly monitoring our network. And recently we consolidated our network, but it doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about expanding the ATM network or adding new branch offices. The process of expansion is always based on the demands and wishes of the client target groups, which are derived from the surveys of relevant market segments. It’s important to know where we can potentially expand our operations.
And one final question, what improvements is Procredit Bank going to offer to its corporate and retail clients?
24/7 Space is an absolutely innovative feature for both types of clients, it’s already here, and we will develop it further, making it evermore tailored to our clients’ needs and interests. By the end of June, we will have a final and complete version of the concept.