Absa is introducing a pilot offering in selected Gauteng branches that will see branch consultants using iPads and other devices capable of performing banking operations that were previously confined to teller-based services.

The iPad offering brings four stand-alone insurance products that make legal, life and funeral cover accessible to a higher number of South Africans. It is currently being piloted in seventeen of the bank’s branches across Gauteng including the newly opened Verdi Centre branch in Northcliff, Johannesburg as well as Irene branch in Pretoria.

Managing Executive of Absa’s Northern Region (a combination of Pretoria, Mpumalanga and Limpopo), Oscar Siziba, explains that the legal cover, known as 'Absa Law For You', gives policyholders free legal advice, mediation on any legal matter and cover for court proceedings.

Life and funeral cover options

Classic Life and Flexi Funeral are the bank’s life and funeral cover options on offer, while the Personal Accident Plan from Absa covers families in the event of death, permanent disability or temporary disability and includes emergency rescue and transportation, medical and hospital expenses.

“The use of iPads in branch also allows us to carry out traditional branch transactions including the switching of customers’ debit orders, transactional and savings account openings and personal loan approvals of between R8 000 and R150 000 for qualifying Absa customers in minutes,” says Banie Claasen, Managing Executive of Absa in Gauteng South.

Both Verdi Centre and Irene branches were installed with generators to alleviate the immediate impact of load-shedding, while both branches also have extended operating hours to close on weekdays (latest 17:30) and include Saturdays.

Extended trading hours

Siziba adds that the move to extend trading hours in these particular branches was an easy decision for the bank as this was a clear way in which to adapt to customer’s changing banking behaviour and accommodate more availability of branch service hours.

“The iPad offering provides for facilities in Absa branches that are consistent with a service quality that is independent of the branch’s power and fixed telephone line systems. We believe that this is a timely solution as load-shedding is increasingly affecting consumers, and the generators and iPads we have secured will go a long way towards helping our customers prosper,” says Siziba.

Absa’s announcement comes at the end of a two year period during which the bank has carried out over 340 refurbishments and branch openings that began at Johannesburg’s upmarket Hyde Park Corner shopping centre.