Banks extend opening hours as customers revert to face-to-face services
Tuesday, January 26th, 2021
Steve Umidha @UmidhaSteve
Competition for customers is pushing banks to extend opening hours to late evening, with an increasing number of patrons now physically interacting with individual banks after months that saw lenders cut in-person transactions due to the pandemic.
While the banks had capitalised on customers’ willingness to use digital financial services for the most part of last year to avoid the spread of coronavirus, a spot check by Business Hub reveals a developing trend in which most bank customers are now backsliding to physical banking dealings.
“We began seeing a lot of walk-ins in mid-December and a good number of customers this year, I think this will be the norm going forward,” said Silas Mutuku, a bank teller in one of the local banks.
Mutuku believes the trend has been occasioned by customers keen to discuss loan applications with their branch managers which they prefer to do so in person.
While services such as cheques had been commonplace and mostly deposited in bank branches, most bank officials are reporting a lot of walk-ins for simple financial services such as inquiries on bank balances, updates and status on pay slips.
Then came the coronavirus pandemic – which forced banks to scale down on branch dealings by mid-March last year, leaving customers with no choice but to use technology if they wanted transactions done.
“Well, we have had consistent walk-ins even last year, the global pandemic notwithstanding, but these are customers that are either reluctant to use digital platforms or are just old-fashioned like that,” says a branch manager with Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In a statement yesterday, DTB said it was extending working hours from 9am to 7pm on weekdays including Saturdays and 10am to 3pm on Sundays and public holidays on its selected busy branches.