On RBS’ list of priorities for this year is the launch of the e-banking portal, as well as the ongoing upgrade of alternative channels. Costin Stoica, RBS alternative channel manager unveils to Wall-Street the bank’s future plans in this field.

“In the first half 2010, we will launch the Internet banking service, which will complete our banking service suite. I believe that Internet Banking, alternative channels in general actually, will develop further in 2010 which could turn out to be detrimental to branch banking”, said Costin Stoica.

Banks will also upgrade their alternative channels (commercial partners, ATMs, phone banking, Internet Banking or Direct Debit) in the coming period, but will seek a balance between cost and efficiency, RBS manager added, “Alternative channels adoption rate will increase in 2010. There is certainly more room for growth for Phone Banking and Internet Banking”.

In 2009 RBS Romania focused on the transactions carried at other units than its own, in an effort to provide more flexibility to its customers. Some of RBS’ commercial partners are Posta Romana and Praktiker, which means more units for customers to check their balances, make their payments or transfer money.

“Our customers can make their credit payments at our commercial partners and through other alternative channels – cash dispensers, Phone Banking, and Direct Debit”, said Costin Stoica, adding that loan collection process via alternative channels has raised the value of collected amount by 50% from 2008.

RBS Romania started to upgrade its alternative banking channels at the end of 2006 when it launched a pilot program only for Bucharest. In 2007, the bank extended the program to its entire network across the country. “In terms of transaction number, we had a 270% increase in October 2009 from end-2007”, Stoica added.

The bank launched Phone Banking service in October 2009, and in just few months it showed an increasing adoption rate among RBS customers. However, Stoica continued, an accurate assessment of the service can be made only after six months from the launch.

RBS operates in Romania since 1995 (initially ABN Amro), and for the time being, it is present in 15 cities through 31 outlets, 3 of which are Royal Preferred Banking units.