Future Of Branch Banking: Small Is The New Big

Gone are the days of 4000 Sq Feet, 12 to 15 tellers and 6 to 8 hours of operation, technology is paving way for more downsized branches with a smaller footprint. Walking over to multiple service desks to get information on various aspects of your banking requirements will be a thing of the past. As more and more customers rapidly adopt online modes of banking, branches struggle to stay profitable using their current model.

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The bank branches have no choice but to think about changing realities. Customers’ branch visits have decreased by 20 percent over the past decade and the history is about to change further.

With integration of queue management systems you could get a token on your handheld device and manage your personal time much better without having to wait for a long time in queue. This way one can engage with the bank even before leaving his/her home adding to customer satisfaction.

Cost pressures and reduced transaction based revenue will cause branches to downsize and become slim in size. Traditional transactional engagements involving a teller will rapidly shift to more automated and self-service technologies. The teller will be involved for an advisory or more consultative approach, predominantly driving more sales. The branch itself will wear a retail centric ambience with innovative lobby designs and the technology will stimulate customer engagement with employees.

Brett King, the best-selling author of BANK 2.0, wrote in his blog Banking4Tomorrow, “It is conceivable that all the transactional elements within a branch will be moved to automated banking with electronic banking centers, automated branches, ATMs, or the Internet within the next 5-10 years. What then is left? The face-to-face, value-add of a real, live human interaction.”

In the foreseeable future banks will add more automation points within their retail branches to create cost-effective retail centric banking operations. For example, a Virtual Teller Machine comprises of the best business and social intelligence tools that enables seamless transition and contextual intelligence across all channels. With such platforms banks of the future have an opportunity to redefine the Omnichannel Customer Experience with a set of stable, secure and feature-rich multi-channel applications that are easy to use.  

 The success of future branches will hinge on their ability to provide differentiated bouquet of services without missing out on any component including the frontline. Branch banks of the future must competitively augment their employees’ knowledge, professionalism and certification. They will need to upgrade skills of branch staff and keep them constantly aware of new bank-related insights through continuous, real-time training. 

Traditional branches will have to adapt to changing scenario. ‘Bricks + clicks’ distribution model will significantly reduce the number of branches. With digitization moving towards mobile-first approach, the universal bankers will have to replace traditional tellers, and remote advisory services will have to be implemented with the support.

In the coming years branch banking will witness a revolution. With increasing adaptability shown by the youth towards technology the future of space utilizing branch banking is about to change. The focus will be on delivering more value at less operational cost. The majority of the transactions will move into self service and the role of the tellers will be more advisory and less transactional in nature. Small will indeed be the new big.

[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Trivone Media Network's or that of CXOToday's.]