Bangkok, 11 December 2018 - United Overseas Bank (Thai) (UOB Thai) today announced it was piloting three branch concepts designed to meet the lifestyles and needs of distinct customer segments, namely families; young professionals and entrepreneurs; business owners and the upper affluent.
Each of the three prototypes was based on the customers’ lifestyles, needs, inspirations and aspirations such as a club for children, an art gallery-themed concept and the third with a futuristic design. Although the concepts are distinctly different, the three pilot branches will be centred on offering financial solutions and services for the Bank’s customers.
UOB (Thai) based the prototypes on its statistical analyses of how customers use the branches and its research on what customers expect of these centres. UOB’s study revealed that customers preferred to visit a branch for personalised financial advisory services. Ninety-nine per cent of its customers in the upper affluent and family segments said they visited a branch at least once a month. With the increasing use of technology to make banking simpler, safer and smarter, the young professionals said they would rather conduct their banking transactions through digital channels. However, they said they would continue to visit a branch for financial advisory services.
 UOB (Thai) defines families as couples aged below 40 whose income is above 15,000 THB; young professionals or entrepreneurs refer to individuals aged below 40 years old who are employees or have started their own business and whose income is above 15,000 THB; upper affluent or business owners are individuals from all age groups whose income is above 100,000 THB.
 UOB (Thai) commissioned a survey on its customers’ branch usage behavior. The survey was done by Boston Consulting Group in 2016 among UOB customers in five countries: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, China and Indonesia.
Different designs for different customer needs
Mr James Rama Phataminviphas, Country Head of Channels and Digitalisation, UOB (Thai), said UOB has taken a design thinking approach to enhance the banking experience for each customer segment with the three branch concepts drawing on insights and understanding of its customers.
“The needs of families, young professionals or entrepreneurs and those of business owners and the upper affluent are different. Families would be mainly focused on their children’s development and would want to plan well for their education. Young professionals or entrepreneurs would be concerned about their career progression or setting up their own business. The established business owners and the upper affluent customers would want help in planning, saving and investing wisely. Using data analytics and research, we focused on creating solutions to address our customers’ changing needs and to ensure that their experience at our branches exceeds their expectations.”
The Bank also paid close attention to the design and layout of each branch.
“In a traditional bank branch, around 70 per cent of the floor space is devoted to tellers and servicing, with 30 per cent dedicated to wealth advisory. We are reversing this ratio as we know that when our customers visit a branch, it is more likely for financial advice. We have reconfigured the branch layout, removed traditional teller counters and created spaces for our customers to hold private conversations about their financial needs and aspirations.”
The first branch concept for families at Central Festival EastVille includes a colourful and inviting area where children can play while their parents are engaged in private discussions with UOB branch staff. The new branch is open seven days a week from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm.
 Source: Harvard Business Review, 2015, https://hbr.org/video/4443548301001/the-explainer-design-thinking
For business owners and the upper affluent, the branch at ICONSIAM has been designed as the flagship UOB Privilege Banking Centre. The interior has plush décor and inspirational art pieces by various national artists are on display. Accredited investment consultants stand by to provide financial advisory services and to guide customers through the Bank’s comprehensive suite of financial services and solutions. The new UOB Privilege Banking branch at ICON SIAM is open seven days a week from 10.30 am – 7.30 pm.
The modern and futuristic branch for young professionals and entrepreneurs at 101 The Third Place has more self-service machines and discussion areas than a typical branch. The interior is stylised and minimalist. It also holds the UOB Business Centre which is the venue of the Smart Business Transformation Programme for small and medium enterprisess to refine their business models and to adopt digital solutions. 101 The Third Place branch is scheduled for completion by the first quarter of next year.