Makati—(PHStocks)—China Banking Corporation (PSE: CHIB) thrift bank subsidiary China Bank Savings (CBS) inaugurated four of its mini branches in Savemore Market – CBS Araneta Center COD, CBS Anonas, CBS Pedro Gil, and CBS Nepa Q-Mart mini branches – last July 30, bringing its branch network to date to 45 nationwide.
Within the year, CBS will have 16 of these full-service mini branches, five of which are now operational, including the mini branches in Savemore and in Fil Oil Gas Station in Tanauan, Batangas opened earlier this month, to make its services more accessible to its target market.
The mini branch concept is CBS’ strategy to expand more efficiently. By branching out to “in-store” locations like Savemore, CBS uses less resources opening and running them than they would conventional branches. Mini branches are only 25sqm in size and manned by just three personnel.
CBS EVP Jaime Valentin Araneta says they approached SM with the in-store branch idea in April last year. Of the stores under the SM Food Retail Group – SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket, Makro, and Savemore Market – the latter was the ideal location for CBS’ planned mini branches as Savemore is more “grassroots” and accessible.
“The mini branches complete our ‘hub and spoke’ business model. The idea is to serve a big area with a traditional branch complemented by mini branches that also offer a full range of services,” said Araneta.
In Quezon City, for example, the second largest city in the country in terms of land area, CBS has one “hub”, Quezon Avenue Branch and five “spokes”, the newly-opened Araneta Center COD, Anonas and Nepa Q-Mart mini branches plus the soon-to-open Jackman and Nova Plaza Mall mini branches.
CBS’ mini branches offer the best of both worlds – face to face interaction with tellers and fast and convenient service through e-banking channels. Each mini branch is equipped with an ATM, Cash Accept Machine, and Online Banking Kiosk. So even if the mini branches’ operating hours is from 10am to 7pm daily, customers can already do their banking transactions as early as 7am or 8 am, when Savemore opens.
Aside from the accessible location, CBS made their mini branches truly “madaling kausap”. Account opening is easy – only one ID is required and the customer can get his/her ATM card right after account opening; and fun – customers who open new accounts in any of the Savemore mini branches from July 30 to September 8, 2013 can win a 5-minute shopping spree for P10,000 worth of groceries at Savemore. And as an added perk, new customers instantly get a free bottle of Mountain Dew upon account opening.
CBS Araneta COD is located at Savemore in General Romulo St., Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City. CBS Pedro Gil is inside Savemore in Pedro Gil corner Singalong St., Manila. CBS Anonas is at Savemore in V. Luna corner Anonas Extension, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. And CBS Nepa Q. Mart is at Savemore at 770 St. Rose Building, EDSA, West Kamias, Quezon City.
Opening soon are 11 more mini branches in Savemore and SM Hypermarket: Nova Plaza Mall in Novaliches, Taft-Masagana in Manila, Jackman in EDSA-Muñoz, Avenida in Manila, Adriatico (SM Hypermarket), FTI in Taguig City (SM Hypermarket), Acacia Estates in Taguig City, Mezza in Sta. Mesa, Nagtahan in Manila, Camarin in Kalookan City and Visayas Avenue in Quezon City.
Alongside the opening of these mini branches are the traditional CBS branches. Five (5) were opened in the first half of the year, with 10 more in the pipeline. Fifteen (15) Unity branches that will be renamed and converted in the last quarter complete CBS’ line-up of new branches.
CBS is on track to meet its target of a minimum of 73 branches in 2013 and 100 by 2014.
“Next year, we’ll be opening branches in the countryside, particularly in Visayas and Mindanao,” said Araneta.