Middle East’s first ‘Money Station’ branch was on Monday unveiled in Dubai by Al Hilal Bank, a progressive Islamic Bank. Ahmed Ateeq Al Mazroui, Chairman of Al Hilal Bank said that customers using the facility will now be able to perform essential banking transactions from the convenience of their own vehicles, thus marking Al Hilal’s latest landmark achievement in revolutionising Islamic banking in the UAE. The innovative branch was inaugurated at Jumeirah Beach Road by Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority. Al Hilal representatives gave a brief tour of the facility, explaining that it would accommodate common banking transactions such as cash withdrawals and deposits and the opening of new accounts for drive-thru patrons. Explaining the features to the media, Al Mazroui, said that under the ‘tube banking’ concept, customers park besides a specially-designed money station where a teller appears on-screen to attend to their request. They then insert their document, application or money — depending on the transaction — in a see-through plastic capsule included in the station. The capsule or tube is placed back on its slot where a ‘send’ button is pressed to transport the contents to the teller for processing. The tube is sent back shortly with the necessary package for the drive-thru client to collect, and inserted back to its slot after the transaction is completed. The branch is already attracting huge interest with its promise of a unique and highly convenient banking experience that marks another Al Hilal -initiated first for the Middle East. “At Al Hilal Bank we always try to be distinguished through our products and services that are fresh and out-of-the-box and designed with the customer topmost in mind. Our ‘Money Station’ branch is a first in the region and affirms our commitment to innovation and customer convenience. We invite our valued customers to try out this one-of-a-kind facility and benefit from its simplicity, speed and efficiency,” said Ahmed Ateeq Al Mazroui, Chairman of Al Hilal Bank. Fully-owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, the investment arm of the Government of Abu Dhabi, All Hilal Bank has gained a reputation for introducing innovative Islamic banking services. Last year, it rolled out the UAE’s first thumb verification system for banking transactions and the Middle East’s first-ever ‘GOLD to Go’ bank-installed gold dispensing machine. Al Hilal Bank currently has 21 local branches and 112 ATMs spread across the UAE as well as three overseas branches in Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, in September last year, Al Hilal Bank also launched the Middle East’s first bank-installed gold dispensing machine in Abu Dhabi. The “Gold to Go” machine sells gold bars and coins 24 hours a day at prices that are updated every 10 minutes to match current market rates. The service reaffirms Al Hilal’s commitment to introducing innovative and customer-friendly offerings. “Gold to Go” went live in September after rigorous testing. The pioneering equipment is burglar- and tamper-proof and is very easy to use. It is fully operated by Ex Oriente Lux, the German developer of “Gold to Go,” the world’s first gold vending machine. The new service has been doing very well in light of gold’s well-established roles as both an alternative currency and a common hedge against inflation.