Retail banking services continue to evolve

BankWest is the latest institution to announce an initiative that will see its services provided in outlets outside the traditional bank branch. In a joint venture with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, BankWest is setting up ‘GuildBank’ within pharmacy outlets and the initiative has the potential to present in-store banking services at 5,000 pharmacies across Australia.

Non-branch strategies are now a reality in the retail market place and competition lines are quickly being drawn amongst the major retail banks. The BankWest statement has closely followed the recent joint venture announcement between Commonwealth Bank and Woolworths who have already will launched ‘Ezy Banking’: unmanned self-service kiosks in major Woolworths and Big W stores with internet facilities, ATM’s and access to Commonwealth Bank central call centre.

Under GuildBank, pharmacists will have to pay an upfront establishment fee for the outlet, but will receive commissions based on product volumes, offering customers savings and cheque accounts, credit cards, home mortgages and personal loans.

Whilst a newer form of retail marketing, we can expect point of sale banking to become more prevalent as banks look for new channels to distribute services and products, thereby overcoming shortfalls which may have arisen through branch closures. BankWest expects the first GuildBank outlets to open within 3 months.