Pretoria - In an effort to provide a more effective service to foreign visitors, South African banks have extended their operating hours for the duration of the World Cup.
Since the World Cup kick-off last Friday, banks including First National Bank (FNB), Absa and Nedbank have been operating until 7pm in all host cities.
Absa's Retail Bank Chief Executive, Gavin Opperman, said not only will 33 Absa branches located in the host cities extend their hours to as late as 7pm; selected branches will also be open from 10am to 1pm on Saturdays until 11 July 2010.
Opperman said the bank has further created a team of foreign language speakers to assist visitors over the phone during the tournament period.
"We are preparing our people to interact with international customers and assist with a wide range of banking needs," said Opperman.
FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan, said until 31 July 2010, the bank had extended their hours at the 17 key-site branches in the host cities.
"During weekdays, the branches will close at 7pm and on Saturdays at 3:30pm.
Jordaan explained that during the extended hours, the bank's focus will be entirely on meeting the needs of foreign visitors, including personal banking and commercial banking customers.
"The extra banking hours are FNB's contribution at a time when everything around us will be unusual and exciting," he said, adding that the bank had also enabled a translating centre to assist non-English speaking visitors who enter their branches.
A call centre, where customers can determine the extended-hour sites and the services to be offered, has been set up. Members of the public can contact 0860 11 22 44.
Nedbank has also extended its operating hours from 8am to 6pm during the week and 8am to 3pm on Saturdays. The extended hours will run until 16 July 2010.