2020 was the year of digitisation; the pandemic caused many bank branches to close and deliver a solely online customer service experience. VTB, the Russian Bank, has become the first financial institution in the country to build on the digitising trend, offering a 24/7 video call service for customers via its virtual office. This will be accessible via its website and will enable VTB employees to conduct three times as many consultations compared to if they did them in person.
The video service format is a convenient alternative to in-person visits and provides customers with round-the-clock access to financial transactions during branch closing hours. Not only can clients consult with a video communication specialist, but they can also arrange products immediately using ‘digital signature’ technology. The security and confidentiality of the process are ensured by modern data protection and encryption methods.
Services available to users include cash loans, credit cards, refinancing, and insurance for loan products. VTB borrowers also have access to partial or full loan repayment through this service. In 2022, video banking will be supplemented with mortgage applications and account and deposit transactions. The service will be integrated into VTB Online, allowing users to make video calls through a mobile application. Sign language translations will also be offered to make video calls more accessible to customers with disabilities.
“The launch of ‘virtual offices’ is dictated both by VTB’s strategy to digitalise retail products and services and by the ongoing pandemic. Over the past two years, each of us has minimised public contacts and increasingly strives to resolve our financial issues remotely. To provide additional security and convenience, we were the first in the banking market to introduce a video banking service and intend to fill it with all the products and services that are currently offered to visitors to a regular office. The potential of the new service is millions of people in the coming years, and you don’t have to be a VTB client to use it.” Said Anatoly Pechatnikov, Deputy President and Chairman of the VTB Management Board.
According to the chairman, the launch of a new service format is also part of VTB’s strategy to support sustainable development principles within the ESG platform. “Video banking will be especially in demand in remote or inaccessible areas of our country. In addition, it will seriously help people with disabilities and the older generation. We must take care of them and ensure that usual financial services are safe, convenient and efficient, even in their homes,” the VTB Deputy Chairman summarised.
VTB intends to ensure 100 per cent availability of its products in digital channels and conduct up to 90 per cent of transactions without paper. A video calling service is similar to a regular video call via Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime. Clients do not need to install special software, as communication passes through secure channels on the bank’s website. To use the service, users must click the “Start a video call” button on the “Online Services” section of the bank’s website.