BPI debuts ‘fresh, bright’ design for branches

Chris Schnabel
BPI debuts ‘fresh, bright’ design for branches
'[BPI] is not seen as open and as bright as competitors....but here it's fresh, bright, and it's a very modern look,' says BPI executive vice president Joseph Gotuaco

MANILA, Philippines – Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) formally debuted a new design for its branches which it hopes would signify a new style of retail banking.

On Tuesday, November 21, BPI showed off a new 680-square-meter (sqm) branch at the Insular Life Building on the corner of Paseo de Roxas and Ayala Avenue in Makati City. For comparison, BPI’s branches are usually just 200 sqm.

The large layout offers specialized services, including lounges for customers as well as safety deposit boxes and a trusted advice corner where customers can engage with the bank’s financial advisors. Its lobby also features access to the full range of BPI’s electronic channels.

“This is quite daring for us because the space is quite large and this is not our headquarters which is across the street… We wanted to use this large space so that they (customers) could do not just their everyday transactions but also some of the more complicated ones as well as those that require financial advice,” said BPI executive vice president Joseph Gotuaco during the launch on Tuesday.

“This is quite unique for us. [BPI] is not seen as open and as bright as competitors. People think of us as 166 years old but here it’s fresh, bright, and it’s a very modern look that you haven’t seen from BPI before,” he added.

According to the BPI EVP, the new design will be cascaded to other branches in high-traffic urban areas, beginning with 3 or 4 branches in the Makati Central Business District.

Overall, the plan is to open 9 more branches this year and 17 in 2018 to complement BPI’s existing network of 841 branches.

“I can see us spending P1.5 to P2 billion a year for the new branches as well as for refurbishing of existing branches,” Gotuaco said.

CONVENIENCE. The lobby of the new branch also features access to all the bank's e-channels via dedicated terminals.

Mass EMV card rollout soon

BPI is also firming up plans to replace customers’ magnetic strip debit cards with new Europay Mastercard Visa (EMV) cards.

Gotuaco noted that credit cards are already issued as EMV cards, as well as debit cards issued beginning October this year.

For the replacement of the magnetic strip cards for the bulk of BPI’s around 8.2 million customers, Gotuaco said the bank is doing it in phases.

“We’ll be making some announcements soon. We are already advanced in our preparations for how we will be working with them to switch out of their current cards. The question is just the rollout plan as we want to make it as convenient as possible for customers,” he explained.

CELEBRATING. BPI executive vice president Joseph Gotuaco (center) explains the idea behind larger flagship branches.

Gotuaco also urged customers to update their addresses with BPI to facilitate the process.

“We can already print the millions of cards needed. We have the technology and back office to do it. As you can see, we’re already issuing the new EMV cards,” he added.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) earlier mandated all commercial banks to switch to EMV cards, which it deems more secure against fraud, by June 2018. – Rappler.com

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