The Royal Bank of Scotland International is to invest £1.1 million into the Nat West Bank at 55 and 57 Line Wall Road, with works set to complete in November before the Corral Road branch closes.
An application was recently filed with the Town Planner by the architect firm, Lewis and Hickey, for the two different projects, which will happen concurrently.
One application, for 55 Line Wall Road, seeks to alter the existing retail bank customer services suite and bank office accommodation.
The other application, for 57 Line Wall Road, seeks to alter and refurbish the existing retail banking hall and install additional cash machines.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of NatWest on the Rock.
“If you look at our banking hall at 57 Line Wall Road, today it is probably not very dissimilar to how it looked in 1988,” said David Bruce, Head of Corporate and Commercial at the bank.
“The reality is that an awful lot has happened in banking in that length of time.”
The Gibraltar branch is the third international branch to receive investment, with the Isle of Man and Jersey having had works completed. Guernsey will receive a similar investment in the future.
“It is really about giving a much more modern fashion to how we provide banking services, because ever more of our customers for their day to day banking needs contact us in a digital or online service fashion,” Mr Bruce said.
“However, as a full-service bank to a full range of customers, we want to provide a full range of options as to how we provide banking services.”
Where will the investment of £1.1 million go?
The changes to 57 Line Wall Road will see the loss of two cashiers, but the addition of more ATMs, CDMs (coin deposit machines) and other banking machines. A mini consultation space and lounge area will also be created.
The cashiering points will combine Line Wall Road and Corral Road staff.
“What this does mean, with the Corral Road colleagues coming to Line Wall Road, is that we are actually combining the two teams,” Mr Bruce said.
“Our actual plan is that as customers come in, we will have colleagues there front of house to meet the customer and to understand what banking transaction that customer is doing.”
Mr Bruce acknowledges that some customers might question the impact of the reduction of cashiers and the increased use of automation.
But he said those roles would shift to vital back-office work.
“Remember there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes and that we are effectively managing great volumes of clearing and cash on a daily basis,” he said.
“For those customers who have banked with us through the day, we need to make sure that is appropriately accounted.”
It is hoped that the introduction of staff to greet customers as they come will reduce the number of people who will use the cashiers, thereby reducing the queues.
These staff members will be equipped with an iPad to show customers how to use online banking and they can assist with the use of the automated machines and deal with other banking needs.
A business bag drop will also be available.
Customers will be able to still see cashiers, make appointments with a customer service officer or use the in branch iPad station to access online banking.
In addition, the bank will launch “a new queue management tool that allows customers to check in and if it’s busy be called back by text when someone is free to see them.
The changes at 55 Line Wall Road will include the creation of five new open consultation spaces with screenings, one mini open consultation space and a lounge.
“At the present time it is just a little bit too open in terms of when you are coming in to do your banking and these are very confidential matters and [the new screened off areas] will have the right feel for that,” Mr Bruce said.
The new design also envisages five consultation rooms with doors, one without and one mini consultation space. In addition, there will also be a lounge, a tea preparation room and back offices that will accommodate up to eight persons.
New furniture, lamps and technological equipment will be installed, as well asnew carpets, paintings and new blinds.
The completed works will see the customer areas of the 55 and 57 Line Wall Road increase by 95sqm combined.
The bank will be open during the refurbishment, with the management and staff stating they are determined to reduce any inconvenience that a customer may experience.