Barclays’ South
Africa-based subsidiary ABSA has unveiled its ‘Test Lab Branch’
concept store, dubbed “Branch of Tomorrow, Today” at Clearwater
Mall, just outside Johannesburg.

ABSA will use the
prototype branch to develop innovative products and processes prior
to rolling these out across its entire branch network.

According to ABSA, the
aim of the initiative is to ensure that the customer’s voice
remains the driving force behind banking initiatives.

Using this model, ABSA
aims to create a more interactive environment for customers whilst
promoting and testing new ways of banking.

The branch will focus on
prototyping technology, streamlined processes and strategically
placed interactive digital media, while at the same time affording
ABSA the opportunity to test concepts within a live

Bobby Malabie, chief
executive of ABSA Retail and Business Banking said:

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“This innovative branch
is a glimpse of the future of retail banking in South Africa. It is
tangible evidence of what our customers have said they

“This Branch of
Tomorrow, Today, shows that ABSA is actively listening and
responding to customer needs and finding ways to meet their needs
through simple and innovative banking solutions.” 

The branch also features
innovations such as Quick Service Enquiries and interactive

Arrie Rautenbach, ABSA
head of retail markets, said:

“Quick Service Enquiries
allows customers to conclude low complexity activities without
traditional queuing, while the new interactive touch-screens are
not just big-screen TV’s, these are digital devices designed to
make doing business with ABSA much easier.

“With a slight touch of
the screen, information about ABSA promotions and specials are at
one’s fingertips.”

ABSA ended 2011 with a
distribution network of 990 outlets and 9,540 ATMs serving 12.1m