ABA Banking Journal - August 2014 - (Page 24)
Brick-and-mortar "stores" morph
to remain relevant in a digital
world. Banks blend in-person
with self-serve and remote
By John Ginovsky, contributing editor
ABA BANKING JOURNAL
ar from going the way of the dinosaur,
bank branches will not disappear. They
will evolve, however, away from focusing
on the low-value, day-to-day transactions at the teller window, to a place
where customers can get the one thing
they can't get anywhere else: face-to-face
interaction with a person.
Branches' once-predicted demise assumed they wouldn't
adjust to cater to the changing needs and preferences of
customers enamored with all sorts of digital channels, as
well as the economies and efficiencies brought by electronic systems that banks themselves embraced. The theory
was that customers just wouldn't see the relevance of oldfashioned marble lobbies and hardened-steel vault doors,
and preferred to punch buttons and take pictures on their
increasingly sophisticated devices.
But that assumption failed to recognize that even the
most gadget-addicted customer still goes into stores. At
times, such customers still want to meet eyeball-to-eyeball
with human beings to talk about big decisions, to get financial advice, to apply for business loans, and even to clear up
some error or misstep by the bank.
"The role of the branch in the future is really going
to become more of a customer service advice center,"
says Sean Keathley, president, Adrenaline, the experience
design agency recently spun off from NewGround. "The
role of the branch is a place for human connection. That's
what can't happen in the other channels."
"We believe in human interaction-we believe there is
incredible value to it in terms of banking with customers," maintains Brian Bailey, vice-president, marketing and
strategy, NCR Financial Services. "That's why banks have
invested in branches: It's in order to help consumers with
financial services choices and providing advice and service
Even the most hard-core technical generation, the millennials, comes into branches, at least some of the time.
Nandita Bakhshi, head of retail distribution and products,
TD Bank, related the results of her bank's recent research
on banking preferences of Gen Y.
"You would have thought every single individual in that
age group would say 'I never want to come into a store,
and I only want to talk via digital,'" Bakhshi points out.
"The answer is, yes, 90% of them do want to use technology whether it's smartphones or [tablets] to talk to a bank.
But at the same time, 57% of them want to come in and
talk to a real person when they are making big decisions on
their mortgages, or they are buying a car, or student loans,
Technology, particularly self-service technology, can
speed up the in-store experience around routine transactions while opening up opportunities to engage customers
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - August 2014
Why HCE could be a big payment plus for banks
Rethinking the branch experience
Social media success not all about "followers"
Around the ABA
ABA Banking Journal - August 2014