Dear Bank: Please don’t leave me!

By : Jeff Dudash

October 29, 2014 06:41 PM

The tug-of-war between digital banking and physical banking remains a compelling storyline. Yes, consumers are doing more routine transactions than ever using their mobile phone or PC. This summer, Bank of America put out a digital banking study, in which they confirmed more than 15 million customers are using their mobile banking app, and 82 percent of their survey respondents are using mobile banking at least once a week.


As for physical channels, BofA says that 84 percent of respondents claim to have visited a branch at least once in the past 6 months, and that those respondents are equal across age groups (branch banking isn’t just an “older” tradition). But I found the phrasing of the next stat in the press release to be interesting:


However, just 23 percent of respondents say they complete the majority of their banking transactions at a branch. Nearly half (47 percent) turn to mobile or online as their preferred method. (The emphasis is mine)


Twenty-three percent of a population is still significant, when you consider they claim to complete a “majority” of their transactions at the branch. An omni-channel banking strategy is very important as consumers represent a broad spectrum of presence and preference.


The topic also drew my attention to this story filed by the Associated Press recently. It’s a story that continues to pop up around the topic that "U.S. Banks are right-sizing their retail networks," but in the wake of that right-sizing pops up consumer access issues. And I use the term “consumers” broadly, as one of the issues pointed out in this AP story involves local merchants’ access to banking services.


Pioche has appealed to the bank's corporate office to keep the branch open, said bartender Joe Dunne at the Overland Hotel and Saloon.


"They said 'too bad, the next closest is Ely.' Unacceptable," he said. "I have simple banking here, but a lot of retired persons have pensions, annuities. It's not a simple deal for them.


"A business like this, if you need to get change, you go to the bank and get so many fives, tens, rolls of quarters, and you need to make deposits every day."


That’s what makes the virtual teller technology of NCR Interactive Teller so exciting. The right-sizing of branch networks is a necessary step for financial institutions, and Interactive Teller can be a compelling solution for not leaving customers behind – with extensive capabilities including for coins. Consumers continue to use their branch for transactions, and – when they want it – they expect it to be there.


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