Bank Branches Will Not Die Anytime Soon: Study
The C-suite banking executives largely believe that the future of the bank branch is bright, with the proper investment into digital transformation, and that 88 percent believe physical branches add value to customers and will play a role in the future of banking, as per a study by Synechro, Inc, the global financial services consulting and technology services provider, in partnership with Efma
The study noted that nearly a quarter (24 percent) intend to increase their branch network and invest in changing the model, yet nearly one in four (39 percent) said they plan to decrease their branch networks whilst investing in change to the current model. Nearly 63 percent of respondents are planning to change their branch model in line with digital transformation, it said.
However, this new research suggests that 88 percent of the bankers surveyed believe that physical branches add value to customers and will continue to play a significant role in the future of banking, the study noted.
Retail and Consumer Bankers are predominantly looking towards technology to improve the in-branch customer experience and evolve the role of their staff as opposed to motives around reducing cost and reducing FTEs.
The top focus area for branch transformation as identified by those surveyed is to improve customer service/engagement, which 42 percent identified as a priority, followed closely by the evolution of the role of branch staff (40 percent). This, however, is followed closely by introducing digital interactive experiences (38 percent) and self-service automated technologies (36 percent), it said.
The study highlighted that the bank of the future will continue to have a physical presence, as 97 percent of bankers agree that only people can bring an emotional connection to the bank, and their role will be focused on bringing the relationship connection with the bank. However, 62 percent of respondents are planning to reduce overall headcount in bank branches. While the traditional branch model historically was centred around transactions, the branch of the future will evolve to serve as an advisory service hub, complimented by digital experiences and employing bankers with specialized skills that combine sales and service responsibilities.
David Horton, Head of Innovation, Synechron, said, “Bank branches have played a critical role in the development and success of retail banking in modern times and they will continue to play an important role, but our new report with Efma shows that the model must change and adapt to support todays digital customer. Through digitization, the bank branch can reinvent itself to improve the experience for the customer while maintaining the personal and emotional connection which many customers value so highly. The coming years will prove significant for retail banks as they look to evolve their value proposition, acquire new customers, and retain existing one’s through a culmination of digital and physical services.”
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