Banks were previously the only place where people could go to pay their bills, send money, deposit or withdraw their money and make other payments. There were even times when people had to stand in long queues to pay their utility bills or for sending and receiving money. These may still be major modes of money transfer but technology has again proved to make lives simpler and quicker by providing us with more convenient options.
UBL recently introduced its new face of branchless banking by the name Omni. The commercial successfully spoke to the right target audience, clearly explaining its convenience, the proof of which is its ever-growing popularity.
So what is it that worked for them?
Creatively speaking, the minimalistic set plays an important role. The streets of a local lower middle class area, the fact that people around the area know each other so well and have a relationship built on strong trust because they live in a close-knit society and have a similar lifestyle. Even the traditional, railway station ambiance adds to the local atmosphere.
Also, the way they introduce the simply put ‘Tareeqa badlo’, painted on the wall, speaks immensely for itself, and to the right audience. A lot of our local streets are seen where people paint their messages on the walls in order to be heard. UBL Omni did exactly that and successfully spoke to the general public in their tone of voice. It is worthy to note, that the set might not have had the same impact, had the motorbike not passed from right in front of the wall and also if the cart was not placed at the right corner, completing the frame.
The service itself is quite economic for the 'unbanked' population. It offers them all that they would expect from a bank but is also more convenient than a bank. Most importantly, UBL Omni does not have restricted timings like a bank would normally have. You can make use of the service even later at night, as long as your nearby Omni Dukaan is open. UBL Omni’s minimum charges and now the availability of the ATM card, has added to the benefits and brought the unbanked population at par with the rest of the population that uses the regular banking services. These benefits have led UBL Omni to win the GSMA Global Mobile Award 2012 for “Best Use of Mobile in Emergency or Humanitarian Situations”.
According to a report by the State Bank of Pakistan, the Branch-less Banking network in Pakistan has expanded by 16 per cent to reach 22,512 agents across the country. Telenor’s Easypaisa and UBL Omni lead the branchless banking movement and with new licenses being issued to more banks, could make 2012 an important year for branchless banking and mobile financial services in Pakistan.
The writer is a New Media Design Manager at Dawn.com
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