Cape Town – First National Bank (FNB) expanded its dotFNB branch footprint by opening its first store in Cape Town at Cavendish Square on Monday. Since the first dotFNB branch opened in April 2012, five stores have since opened around South Africa. There are three stores in Johannesburg and is located in the Nicolway shopping centre in Bryanston, Hyde Park shopping centre in Hyde Park and in Centurion Mall in Centurion. There is also a dotFNB store in the Eastgate shopping centre in Bedfordview and in Galleria Arbour Town in Amanzimtoti, Durban, Kim Gibson-van der Walt, head of dotFNB, FNB Banking Channels, told News24.She said approximately 4 000 people visits the stores on a monthly basis.Digital banking“DotFNB entrenches FNB’s dominance of digital banking channels and shows the bank’s strategy of on-going innovation. We understand the global trend of convenience, especially for consumer services, like banking. With this growing momentum of digital, self-service banking, customer experience has become an even more important element in our business.” Gibson-van der Walt said the reason why they opened a dotFNB store is to help people who want more information on specific apps. "Tech-savvy customers want somebody to talk to about problems they are experiencing with their app, installing their app or how to get an Apple ID and password. Staff are trained to help them with the device, install the app and give them a crash course on how to use the app."She said when customers leave the store they feel empowered, empowered to use the device and actively make use of digital banking. Devices are issued immediately in-store unlike the waiting period and courier service on FNB's online platform. Customers that are interested in buying a device but don't know which device to buy can go to the dotFNB store and browse through the devices and also get advice from consultants. Virtual environmentThe store provides a virtual environment in which to experience FNB’s service and product offerings, in a tangible form, by engaging with unique mechanisms that have never before been seen in branches, including an interactive financial planning Microsoft surface as well as video-conference cubicles. Customers are migrated to the bank’s digital platforms and are also educated on how best to use these platforms to simplify their banking experience.Some of the technology that can be found at the dotFNB store includes a Microsoft Surface featuring interactive calculators, video conference booths that provides immediate access to specialists in Business Banking, Home Loans and Share Investing. The staff at these stores are technically trained as well as banking trained to assist with device set up and basic troubleshooting. Smart devices are also showcased in the dotFNB stores, and upon completing the qualifying scoring, clients can take up the device of their choice and walk out with this device set up and the FNB app loaded on the device.“The store creates a balance between what we believe to be the future of banking and the need for human interaction. Sales and service pods are designed in such a way that customers sit alongside the bankers, sharing the experience of discussing their banking portfolio, choosing a device and setting it up with the FNB digital channels, like the Banking App, ” Gibson-van der Walt said. dotFNB is completely cashless but there are deposit-taking ATMs outside the branches. The stores also operate within the trading hours of the mall.Both FNB and non-FNB customers who visit the dotFNB branches can browse products and services and apply for them instantly. Non-FNB customers can also open a cheque account on the spot and apply for a smartphone, tablet or other available device.“We are living in a digital era and although traditional branches are here to stay, we need to offer relevant solutions to our clients. We believe that the link between education and banking on digital platforms needs to be readily available to clients, so that they can experience a marked impact on their lifestyles and the way they bank in the future,” Gibson-van der Walt said.She said there are a number of sites that are earmarked in Cape Town for possible dotFNB stores. "The plan is to have more than one dotFNB store in all the provinces." – Follow Chantelle on Twitter.