Nedbank has launched its first small business hub as part of the conversion of the Sandown branch to a new “Branch of the Future” design, and plans to take the concept to selected small business nodes around the country.

Sandown is the first Nedbank branch to receive the new look and feel Branch of the Future design with the hub aimed at providing entrepreneurs with meeting rooms and office space, WiFi connection, desktop access, screen projectors – effectively the space and tools required to conduct business, meet with like-minded people and network.

The location also has the capacity to host conferences and larger meetings of up to 50 delegates outside of branch opening hours. All of these services are free of charge to both Nedbank and non-Nedbank clients.

Dave Schwegmann, managing executive of branch network at Nedbank, explains: “As a bank we are acutely aware of the challenges facing small business and for a number of years have invested in a comprehensive set of Banking and Beyond solutions that can enable the growth of small businesses. With the small-business hub, we are now testing a very practical concept that could increase the productivity and effectiveness of entrepreneurs who ordinarily may not have access to these kinds of facilities, or find themselves stuck in Sandton between meetings and want to use their time more effectively. We are especially excited about the conference capability, which we consider a real benefit for small businesses and a differentiator for the bank.”

Innovative features deployed in our new branches include video banking facilities, state-of-the-art cash-depositing ATMs, queue management that reduces waiting times, as well as internet banking facilities, with WiFi, internet stations and iPads for the convenience of clients waiting for various services.

“We have already converted 23% of our branches to the new concept. The essence of the design is to create an environment where we can place greater emphasis on client advice and education, while providing clients with self-service technology to meet their day-to-day needs. A lot of attention has also been placed on other elements that impact the overall client experience. So far, client feedback has been very positive and we hope to convert 70% of our branch network by 2017,” Schwegmann adds.

A second small-business hub is planned for Riversands in June.