Some FIs are already transforming the branch in pretty amazing ways. Just take a look at one of Virgin Money’s eight Virgin Money Lounges. At the Sheffield Lounge, their customers, free of charge, can go bowling, play air hockey, or pool. Or, if they’re in the mood for something more low-key, there’s a library and a bar serving complimentary snacks and soft drinks. Oh, and they have a café, movie theater and a children’s playroom, too.
And of course, customers can perform any of their banking transactions with tellers who are called “lounge hosts.” So, they’re bringing banking to their customers in a way that’s causal, fun, convenient, and digital-first. They’re also setting their brand apart at a time when people need other reasons to visit their branches and receive in-person interaction that drives long-term loyalty.
But the convenience of the 24/7 availability will continue to be one of the banking trends that FIs need prioritize. So, what might a typical branch of the future look like? Because personalization and choice are also important to consumers, it might look something like the following:
A customer walks into a branch and, thanks to AI, is immediately recognized when they walk in. On an interactive screen with a virtual personal assistant, they’re immediately greeted by name, and thanks to robust data analytics, the system knows that the customer is in the market to buy a home, has processed a pre-approval loan online, and generated a list of mortgage offers for them to browse.
And with the use of APIs, they can connect to a financial planner to have a discussion about which one seems like the right investment. So, what would usually be a fairly long, stressful, time-consuming process can be as convenient and as easy as performing a much more routine banking transaction. The personalization of the experience will also be addressed.
Convenience, of course, will still be a key driver for branch transformation that can be achieved using a variety of tools, including previously mentioned biometrics and the IoT. And it’s estimated that by 2025 there will be approximately 930,000 branches globally, but they will be lighter, leaner, and faster with more self-service and automation.
Related: What is Branch Transformation?