By : Colin Gordon
May 24, 2016 09:00 AM
Bank branches are changing as financial institutions look to drive increased profits and deliver a better customer experience in a more demanding consumer climate, but still offer the reassuring presence and knowledge on tap that embodies a long term banking relationship.
But what does this improved modern branch experience look like in practice? Three key outcomes can easily be delineated: lower operating costs, better customer experience and the ability for tellers to sell more products. Contrary to popular opinion, branches have not just recently become sales focused – if you were to review a recruitment ad from Bank of America or any European bank 10 years ago, any job from teller upwards would focus their role and performance measures primarily on sales with service and transacting integrity second. Financial institutions (FIs) are increasingly turning to technology as they physically remodel branches and create a true merging of the physical and virtual banking experiences to achieve a radical refocus on these objectives, deliver exceptional consumer experiences, and engender more propensity to buy amongst their customer base.
Research by Codigo, which offers a snapshot of 250 FIs in the US, shows half are attempting some kind of branch remodeling and, in a recent poll by NCR jointly with ATM Market Place, some 46% of community FIs show increasing revenue as their driver. The basic relationship between technology and branches is steadily shifting away from helping the member of staff be more efficient with a ‘full service’ model using the likes of Teller Cash Recyclers, transitioning to delivering true people efficiency and expanded engagement, both in branch and in non-traditional locations, using innovative, assisted-service solutions like the NCR Interactive Teller.
This is becoming the baseline for disruptive remodeling of the physical branch with some 27% of FI’s surveyed by Codingo, planning to deploy this technology in their branch to enable a completely fresh and future-relevant branch remodel strategy. The study paints only a general picture of branch remodeling in the US at present. Branch transformation is a much larger task, involving not just the installation of new hardware like interactive tellers, but also the overhaul of entire processes and systems, covering things like appointment booking, workforce optimization, product origination and customer flow management. More technology is needed before banking branches reach their future state.