The Warehouse’s planned banking foray looks likely to be a cheap and cheerful low-tech affair.
Last month the retail giant announced a joint venture with WestpacTrust to sell a range of financial services through its 74 retail stores.
The general manager of The Warehouse’s non-retail service, Bruce Gordon, says the bank will follow the “Tesco model”, based on the UK supermarket chain that offers financial services.
“Product information and fulfilment will be handled in the traditional manner of an application form with assistance available from team members in the store,” he says.
Point-of-sale systems will electronically manage loyalty points and deduct points when they are redeemed for products and services. There will be no online services. However, Gordon says the venture will consider the use of technology next year, which may include self-service terminals to help staff and let customers browse products.
Back office administration will be handled by the bank “plugging in” to Westpac’s existing systems, he says.
The services build on a partnership with WestpacTrust, which began with the bank launching the now 200,000 customer-strong Warehouse Card. The Warehouse Financial Services has an initial $5 million capital and will offer credit card facilities as well as travel and life insurance services.
Gordon says the bank will compete with the government’s planned “People’s Bank”.