Get ready to bank without bankers. Commercial banks are setting up new branches where machines will fulfill most of your needs. Union Bank of India (UBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Indian Bank are planning branches equipped with automated teller machines (ATM), cash depositing machines (in which you can deposit loose cash), passbook printer, internet kiosk, information kiosk and phone banking devices in order to speed up the banking process and to save on operation cost.
“Lobby banking is aimed to cut the transaction time of customers and reduce the workload from branches,” said S Govindan, UBI general manager.
UBI started its ‘Lobby Banking’ pilot project with 20 branches across the country in 2010. After encouraging customer response, the bank is planning 200 new lobby banking branches.
Indian Bank, which started two such branches (named as E-Banks), is positive on this model of banking as it helps in cost reduction. “E-Banking is a low cost banking model which will help us in reducing the operation cost and increasing efficiency,” said V Ramagopal, executive director of Chennai headquartered Indian Bank. “We will soon set up E-Banks in metros in the country,” he said.
Increasing banking cost has been an area of concern and banks are trying hard to find low cost model of banking. A transaction by a customer in a branch cost Rs 40-60, from an ATM it costs around Rs 13-17, from Internet it costs R8-10 while with a banking correspondent it costs around Rs 4-6. Per transaction cost in lobby banking is expected to be Rs 17-40.
Taking its cue, PNB will also roll out such branches under the name of ‘E-Lobby’. “In two-three months we will set up three E-Lobby branches, two in Delhi and one Bengaluru,” a senior PNB official said.