FIRST National Bank Lesotho this week unveiled its latest Slimline mini ATM device to afford clients greater banking convenience by extending the bank’s reach beyond its physical branch and ATM footprints.
The portable device which will be placed in dedicated retail outlets performs similar functions to an ATM machine except that instead of dispensing cash, the device issues a cash voucher which the customer presents to a retailer for cash from the shop till.
FNB Lesotho Chief Executive Officer Martin Knollys said the Slim Line device would bring banking services closer to the people as it would increase the bank’s reach beyond its ATM footprint.
“The slim line has multiple benefits to business and consumer customers,” Mr Knollys said during this week’s media launch of the device.
“There is a massive benefit to our consumer customers because these devises will be based inside retail outlets in areas where FNB and perhaps other banks have absolutely no footprint. This means that to a customer, they now have an ATM service in areas where they never used to have one before.
“The benefit that it offers to the retailer is that it consumes all of the retailer’s cash, so that the cost of cash to a retailer comes down quite significantly because the cash the retailer would have otherwise had to move to the bank has gone to the customer,” Mr Knollys said.
He added that the device would also bring down the cost of banking to the customers since there were no withdrawal charges involved.
Mr Knollys said the Slimline was likely to become a dominant feature in the banking landscape.
“While it might not necessarily mean less branches, going to into the future we will refer to this as the branch because attached to this we might have two sales people and an inquiries person.
“So banks are looking for more innovative ways of being all over the place. We cannot deploy a hundred branches in Lesotho if you consider the cost of such, but we can deploy hundreds of Slimline devices around the country,” Mr Knollys said.
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He said the device had already been tested in countries such as South Africa, Botswana and Zambia and had also been piloted in the country for a while.
FNB Lesotho Deputy CEO Mokhachane Mopeli echoed Mr Knollys’s sentiments, adding the device would save customers time and money as they would not have to travel to banks for transactions.
“This device is going to change a retailer from just being a retail outlet to also being a financial services provider,” Mr Mopeli said, adding the device can perform functions such as cash withdrawals, transfers and payments, buying prepaid airtime and electricity, viewing account balances and mini statements, changing PIN and e-wallet transacting.
He said the device could also be used to open savings and investment accounts.
The Slimline will complement the Cash Deposita, which is a cash management system device introduced by FNB Lesotho earlier this year.