UBL has launched its first digital branch in Karachi at Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and has claimed that it is “Pakistan’s first Digital Branch”. However, Standard Chartered Bank already established a Digital Branch in the same month of last year.
According to an official press release, the bank states that the branch is not only a pilot but also commercial. Usually, pilot projects are carried out on experimental basis and then declared as commercial on the basis of successful response from the customers.
It further said, “This pilot branch is located at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA-City Campus), Karachi. True to its progressive and innovative brand attributes, UBL is the first commercial bank in Pakistan to provide its customers with state-of-the-art facilities enclosed within a cutting-edge modern design.”
The features of a digital branch are more or less the same Standard Chartered Bank equipped in its digital branch in Karachi. However, the bank launched its digital branch project back in 2013 from Hong Kong.
UBL press release further described the concept of digital branch:
A completely automated facility, the Digital Branch runs without the physical presence of any bank staff. Although a pilot branch in its current form, the Digital Branch is able to provide a host of services that include account opening, as well as service elements such as cash deposits and withdrawals, Inter Bank Fund Transfers, instant debit card issuance and replacement card requests.
By initiating operations of this Digital Branch in pilot form, UBL intends to test and ensure a seamless experience for the customer. After the successful launch of the pilot branch, the Bank plans to expand these Digital Branches nationally.
Customers are greeted and facilitated transactions using a combination of digital technologies and a remotely located teller accessed through video-link. These features allow the Digital Branch to be accessible even after banking hours for all customers.
UBL False Claims Continue
On the contrary, BankIslami was the first to launch the concept of Card-less ATMs through in-house data of consumers thumb impressions. It was followed by HBL which installed Card-less ATMs connected with Nadra records.
Traditionally in Pakistan, claims as the first-mover or pioneer are made through press releases and heavy advertisement but this misleading information and advertisement is a crime as per Competitive Commission of Pakistan (CCP).
Accordingly, deceptive marketing practices are a violation of Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010, which includes the distribution of false or misleading information to consumers, including the distribution of information lacking a reasonable basis, related to the price, character, method or place of production, properties, suitability for use, or quality of goods.
In 2010, UBL was one of the four banks which were served a show-cause notice by CCP for misleading advertisements showing false claims of higher returns on deposits.