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Inside NAB's first concept branch: photos

The National Australia Bank (NAB) is looking to smarten up its branches going forwards, and last month unveiled its very first concept store in Melbourne. ZDNet Australia went to take a look behind the scenes at the branch's mix of smart self-service technology and open-plan design.
By Luke Hopewell, Contributor on
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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The new concept branch is situated on the ground floor of this colourful building, the bank's Docklands office.

The concept branch was opened in December with a view to being a new, retail-style approach to banking rather than the traditional teller-driven system.

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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

Inside the branch, customers are greeted with several smart deposit machines, including (from right to left) a machine that produces wrapped coins for businesses, a coin-deposit machine and a smart deposit machine that accepts cheques, coins and cash, as well as a traditional cheque-deposit slot.

The two smart deposit machines in the middle allow a customer to insert their ATM card, deposit cheques, notes or coins, and select the account where the money is to end up. The machine then processes the physical currency into the customer's account without the need to speak to a teller or wait in line.

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NAB assumes that if a customer has made the decision to use a physical branch, they will be happier using physical pamphlets and brochures, as opposed to digital alternatives.

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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

If customers want to use the new concept branch to access information about products online, they can, using the provided 13-inch MacBook Air. The branch also comes equipped with free Wi-Fi for customers.

NAB told ZDNet Australia that it plans to deploy four more concept branches along the east coast of the country within the next six months; one in Sydney, one in Brisbane and the other two in Melbourne.

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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

An iPad is also on hand for those looking to access bank-specific information.

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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The iPad inside the branch isn't locked down to just the NAB-specific app. Instead, customers are given access to the whole device. NAB told ZDNet Australia that it had made the decision to give customers full access to facilitate a more human conversation with customers, allowing them to search for something they might want to buy, for example, and connect that back in with the decision to take out a loan.

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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The self-service podiums stand around the branch's help centre.

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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The information wall contains more brochures, iPads and MacBooks, as well as what NAB is calling its smart wall. The smart wall is an information system that is controlled by a branch manager, and, when deployed in different communities, will display information on community events and other location-specific information to make the bank more of a local hub for residents.

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Hot-desk meeting spaces are available for private bankers looking to sit down and map out products with customers.

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(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The branch is based on an open-plan design with a heavy emphasis on glass and transparent construction, which the bank says makes it more secure. If anything is amiss in the branch, passers-by are more likely to know about it.

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