First National Bank says it plans to close more than 20 outlets amid the growing adoption of digital banking channels.
The bank came to the decision after it launched a review of branch-related functions. The bank found that, during the expansion of its digital banking platform, there was a duplication of services and “unrealised efficiencies in our points of presence”.
“During this review, some sales and service outlets close to our full-service branches were identified as not being well utilised by customers and these functions are being transferred into the nearby full-service branches,” said Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB’s points of presence business.
“We anticipated that about 25 sales and service outlets will be affected,” she said.
She said that none of the 716 full-service FNB branches will be affected by the closures. She further said that the bank is extending its network of ATMs that accept cash and cheque deposits.
FNB also has around 1,5m customers on its mobile banking application and more than 2m users on its USSD cellphone banking platform.
“Our review noted that investments in risk prevention and identity confirmation infrastructure (including online fingerprint verification in partnership with the department of home affairs) could produce greater savings,” added Van Zyl.
FNB’s full review of its branch network is expected to be complete by May and it could result in staff retrenchments.
“While a small percentage of employees will be affected, we are unable to make a statement at this stage regarding any job losses as redeployment, natural attrition including retirements and resignations together with expansion of other business, will all have a substantial role to play,” Van Zyl said.