Sat, 01 Apr 2000

ABN AMRO Bank opens model branch in Jakarta

JAKARTA (JP): The Netherlands based ABN AMRO Bank opened on Friday a newly designed branch in Kemang, South Jakarta, a forerunner for all of the bank's other branches throughout the South Asia Pacific region.

ABN AMRO country manager of Indonesia, Pieter van den Akker said the bank's Kemang branch applied a new concept that would enable the bank to deal more efficiently with customers.

"This branch is the first example of how the bank wants to present itself to its retail customers," Van den Akker told reporters following the official opening of the branch.

He said that ABN AMRO branches in Asia would follow the same architectural layout as the one in Kemang.

The branch, though small in size, features office cubicles for each of its different services.

According to the bank, the new layout would offer customers better privacy in meeting with ABN AMRO officers and tellers.

Van den Akker said that ABN AMRO headquarters approved the concept, as it considered the Southeast Asia region as having great potential in the retail banking sector.

"We presented this concept to the managers in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and we were able to convince them to do it, which is why we are the first in the world," he said.

He said ABN AMRO has 25,000 retail customers but that the figure is expected to rise to 100,000 within the next few years.

ABN AMRO plans to also raise the bank's revenue contribution from its retail banking sector to 50 percent from the present 40 percent.

ABN AMRO director of consumer banking Budi G. Sadikin said the purpose behind the new layout was to strengthen its image in retail banking.

"In the past ABN AMRO was seen more as a corporate bank, but now we would like to be seen as a consumer bank, too" Budi said.

He said the bank's new image aimed at emphasizing a customer's individuality, adding that the bank would, for instance, put pictures of people on each of ABN AMRO's new advertisements.

He said the change in advertisement would become a global standard for other branches as well.

Branches in Southeast Asia would also adopt Kemang's interior design, which according to him has tried to convey the bank's accessability and warmth to its customers.

Budi further stated that it was partly due to Indonesia's historical ties with the Netherlands that Indonesia was selected for becoming the first to adopt the concept.

ABN AMRO, he said, has operated in Indonesia for over 170 years, and with 15 branches it is currently the largest operation in Indonesia.(bkm)