Branch Transformation at RHB Bank: Making It Look Easy

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13 June 2012


Banks have talked about transforming the branch channel for years. Few have done so. RHB Bank’s Easy initiative is a branch transformation success story that serves as a model of excellence in strategy, design, and execution. RHB Bank is Celent’s Model Bank of the Year.

In a new report, Branch Transformation at RHB Bank: Making It Look Easy, Celent unpacks RHB Bank’s gutsy launch of a new retail banking concept in Malaysia. Beginning in 2009, RHB Bank sought to be the first Malaysian bank to serve the mass market with comprehensive retail financial services. The initiative emerged as a new brand, four new retail outlet designs, a new organization and culture, and a state-of-the-art retail operating model. The Easy delivery model costs just 15% of the legacy RHB branches to build and operate. Easy branches break even in one-fourth the time and achieve pay back more than twice as fast as traditional branches. The initiative won Celent’s Model Bank of the Year award for 2012.

“The changing regulatory, economic, social and technological environment has created an imperative for branch channel evolution.” says Bob Meara, Senior Analyst with Celent’s Banking group and author of the report. “As more banks take on this challenge, they seek examples of how to do it right. Easy by RHB is a terrific case study in transforming the branch channel into a highly effective and efficient consumer touchpoint—something other banks need badly.”

This report begins with a primer on the Malaysian consumer retail banking market with its large, under-served mass market, as well as RHB Bank’s desire to be the first to address it. The report then details RHB Bank’s strategy, branding, design objectives, retail operating model, and portfolio of retail touchpoints designed to meet the needs of the largely unbanked Malaysian mass market. The report concludes with the notable results obtained through the first two years of Easy by RHB, along with implications for other financial institutions seeking to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their retail branch infrastructure.