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Thursday, 7 October 2010

ASB New Zealand opens first Facebook bank branch in the world

Three weeks ago ASB in New Zealand opened the doors (or whatever you term the online equivalent, launched I guess) to Facebook's first online bank branch. We blogged some months back about the potential for Facebook to become a major player in banking services and what ASB have done is recognise that potential and faced it head on, moving their services on to the social network. It's a brave move but one that was inevitable.

Last week we tried the branch out. It's a very simple service. At its heart it's an online chat interface built directly into Facebook. There are a selection of advisers to choose to talk to, all of whom are named and photographed individuals, to increase the person to person appeal that is the hallmark of social networking and you are able to choose from those available to chat.

We spoke to Elysse to find out how the launch was going? She was friendly, personable and very knowledgable and stated there had been considerable interest in the service. Although ASB are at present unable to offer services to those overseas, she said they had had considerable contact from New Zealand travellers who were able to sort out their issues quickly and easily through Facebook.

We went on to have a brief Twitter chat with Anna Curzon the General Manager, Internet Banking for ASB who confirmed the interest

That second statement really underlines the point of introducing this branch concept in to Facebook. In a time impoverished and globalised environment brands need to be in the places their customers are. Financial services brands are definitely behind the curve in following that trend, but ASB has made a huge step forward.

While the services through the ASB Facebook branch are currently limited the mere fact that they are there speaks volumes for their foresight and ambition. This is a bold first move and we’re sure it will be the first of many. We will keep an eye on whether ASB benefits from first mover advantage.

Crispin Heath
Head of Digital

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ASB is not the best bank to deal with. I had a bad experience with ASB Bank in New Zealand, after leaving NZ i wanted to access my internet banking, I tried my password more then three times and i failed to access my accounts, ok no problem. The website said i had to phone them, so i did- no big deal, to get access. Because i could not remember the second letter to a verbal password i had said years earlier and i called via skype i had to send a fax (do we still have these machines?) to my branch and provide a phone number, preferabally a NZ cell phone number so they could contact me to verify who i was; what a load of bull. Other banks have much simpler and just as secure methods of verififcation where you do not need to have a NZ cell phone and a fax machine in your pocket whilst travelling. So unless you want to give your money to them because you cannot access your acounts bank somewhere else.