Luxury Banking in Uganda: DFCU Acacia
DFCU's Acacia branch.

Luxury Banking in Uganda: DFCU Acacia

Whether it is called “personalized” banking or “hassle-free” banking, three banks are creatively constructing a trendy and innovative concept of new luxurious banking services in Kampala by offering some unique and fresh benefits to an elite circle of customers to maintain their clientele relationships, and to enhance their customer care services.

The bank trio consists of Barclays, Nile and DFCU banks.

By Aretha Frison
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First published: June 7, 2005

Inclusive Personalized Banking at DFCU Acacia

DFCU Acacia, which officially launched this February, is located on Acacia Avenue in Kololo. DFCU uses the phrase “hassle-free” banking to describe its new banking option, Acacia.

Along with the aforementioned luxury banking essentials—but unlike the other two— Acacia has a secluded and striking facility that offers its special-need members access to parking spaces and regular parking for more than 50 hefty sport-utility trucks or family-oriented sedan vehicles, and an area for the kiddies to frolic and play while members use its 24/7 ATM to get some quick cash. It even serves ice cream to the young and old.

But best of all, Katuntu said, Acacia is free for everyone.

“Acacia is for all our customers,” he said. “This makes us different. All they need is Ushs 200,000 to open an account at any branch, and push it to Ushs 20,000, and they will still be welcomed to Acacia,” he said.

But, he said, convincing his clientele that the services and facility at the branch are all free has been of some concern to DFCU.

“We need to work on communicating that better,” Katuntu said.

After receiving customer feedback on its services and conducting research since last July, DFCU developed Acacia to not just be the end of its goal to provide a comfortable setting for banking, but this is only the foundation to extract the same setting throughout the other branches. Katuntu said DFCU would upgrade all its current branches into Acacia-like facilities within the next year, including its Jinja Road branch that is currently under construction, which is planned for completion by June.

“We made this the first of many banking halls to be similar to a living room as possible,” Katuntu said.

Katuntu said he believes that traditional banking has been constricted to tight lines and protocols. He wants DFCU to be a free, comfortable environment for all customers of all financial backgrounds to be cozy in.

In addition, its one-year old Pinnacle club gives DFCU’s top-notch several business-exclusive benefits including customer advisement, internet access, and invitations to talks by leading businesspeople in the area for Ushs 25,000 a month. Pinnacle is also competing with these other luxury banks, and is also being revamped to prepare for the competition by adding discounts at stores and other accessories for members.

Holding the Key to the Trend’s Future

Katuntu said that winning over the customer with comfortable, business satisfaction is key to locking the door to keep the competition from stealing DFCU’s customers.

“Personal banking, even personal service is the way to go,” Katuntu said. “We have learned that our customers need more than a ATM for their needs. We need to have certain services designated for the human being. If you get through all this hype about personalized banking, it is just like a retail service we are providing—like at the supermarkets or a pharmacy.”

Similar to its competitors, DFCU also believes that creativity and having a stronghold on canny benefits and sly banking options with a personal touch, is not just some show-and-tell promotion and opportunity to see which bank is the best. It is an important factor for all banks to adapt in preserving excellence for every customer, with a caring appeal.

“The challenge is to stay relevant to our customers, “ Katuntu said. “We are not investing in a fad. We want to continue to deliver value.”

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By Aretha Frison
more from author >>
First published: June 7, 2005
Aretha Frison is an African American writer based in Kampala.