There is a lot of talk at the moment about what Banks are doing and going to do with their Bank branches in the future and how they will fit into the banks Omnichannel strategies.
The global discussion is a good one at the moment, since it is a major issue banks need to address. More and more banking is being done online and therefore the client interaction (face-to-face) value is being questioned, in particular in conjunction with the general decrease in Bank branch business and the high bricks and mortar costs assciated with them.
There are numerous ways of approaching this and The Financial Brand has posted numerous great articles to the topic. For me it’s quite amazing at how some banks are moving in this direction. The general sentiment seems to be, make the branches smaller, more modern and offer more online banking opportunities. In other words, less human-interactive.
Have a look at some of these “proud” examples:
BBVA in Spain – I find this absolutely horrible. It has the appeal of a hospital ward.
Or here the NAB (otherwise a very creative good marketing Bank) with their boring non-personal “Smart Store”. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it makes banking even more irrelevant.
A good example is “The Virgin Money Lounge” for example. Here there is relevance – community relevance. It’s personal, and that is still so important.
Another good example is Vancity, which shows how important the community is when it comes to banking, and by offering a new level of value, based on what helps people, a bank becomes more relevant through its branches.
A good article on the whole issue is also an article titled “Branch Banking: Change the Mindset from Survice to Thrive” from Capco.
For me it’s about relevance and keeping banking personal. Don’t complain that more business is being done online and then make your branches more “online”. Embrace the fact that online and data are driving banking, and then give your clients a personal relationship with your brand. The less personal contact you have, the more irrelevant your brand will become. Embrace your clients, offer them a personal experience and work together with your community.