ABA Banking Journal - August 2014 - (Page 24)

cover story BRANCH TRENDS BRANCH F RETHINKING THE experience 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 24 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | AUGUST 2014 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 and guidance." 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, or investments." Technology, particularly self-service technology, can speed up the in-store experience around routine transactions while opening up opportunities to engage customers more deeply.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - August 2014

Chairman's View
Editor's Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
Picture This
Community Banking
Why HCE could be a big payment plus for banks
Rethinking the branch experience
Social media success not all about "followers"
Compliance Clinic
Around the ABA
Legal Issues
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - August 2014

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