Over the past decade, the banking industry has undergone a significant transformation. With the rise of digitalization, banks worldwide have closed branches to improve cost-income ratios and adapt to changing customer behaviour. Between 2011 and 2021, US banks shuttered 17% of their domestic branches, while European banks closed 35%. However, this doesn't mean that the traditional branch is going extinct. In fact, it is evolving to remain a vital part of the banking ecosystem.
Customer Preference for In-Person Interaction
While digital banking has become increasingly popular, customers still value having a physical location where they can meet bank representatives in person. This personal touch makes them feel more secure and taken care of, fostering a sense of trust and stability. In fact, two-thirds of consumers appreciate having bank branches in their neighbourhoods as a symbol of their bank's availability and commitment.
Our Five Beliefs on How the Branch Will Retain Its Importance in the Future
1. Clear Role & Integration:
Bank branches will play a crucial role in the omnichannel banking landscape, seamlessly integrating digital and physical interactions. They will apply their digital skills to provide customers with smooth, cohesive journeys across all channels.
2. Focused on Added Value:
Bank branches will shift their focus towards offering valuable sales and advisory services, placing cash supply and special services in the background. They will actively guide customers towards online self-service options.
3. Profit Center Approach:
Bank branches will operate as profit centers, with a clear aim of generating income. Steering and control will be driven by key performance indicators (KPIs) and management by objectives (MBO), making them open for the integration of third-party services.
4. Highly Automated:
The future branch will be a physical space for face-to-face interactions, but the underlying processes will be end-to-end automated, digitalized, and largely paperless. This automation will enhance efficiency and improve customer experiences.
Technology will be the primary driver behind efficient, economical, and sustainable branch operations. Expect to see Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, video teller services, tellers as financial concierges, and advanced digital authentication methods, just to name a few.
As we navigate this exciting evolution of banking branches, it's essential to keep the customer at the center of our strategies. By embracing technology and focusing on value-added services, the branch of the future will not only survive but thrive, ensuring that customers continue to receive the personal, secure, and convenient banking experiences they desire.
Read more about our Branch and Teller solution.