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Part 1: Technology in Retail Banking Today, Tomorrow – and the Future

By Adam James, RA

April 5, 2022

 

This month, we’re diving deep into a topic that is a major discussion in the branch operations and design process – technology in the retail branch. It’s a topic that brings up many questions, some uneasiness, and a lot of unknown – but there is little doubt that technology is changing the experience of the branch for both your customers and employees.

Today is part one of a three-part series – we’ll examine technology being deployed today at branches and your physical branch assets. The next post will discuss what the near future holds and finally step out to look at what the future will bring for your (virtual?) branches.

 

Today:

The branch of today for many financial institutions continues to be an evolution and upgrade from yesterday’s traditional banking experiences to more modern and engaging experiences. We’ve discussed and researched three branch models we see today and how we see our clients are transforming from one to the next (and understanding how it can save your money!)

The ten-person teller lines of yesterday are quickly being replaced with more open and engaging teller pods that promote interaction between your customers and front line teller workers.

The design of the teller pod works with the assistance of teller cash recyclers that allow for quick and accurate transactions, making your employees more efficient and allowing for quicker transaction times. The teller pod is full of different technologies and are not a one size fit all – it’s important that the design of your teller pod or cash bar reflect how your operations work, and to integrate them into the design for not only easy use for your employees, but also for updates and repairs (your facilities and IT team will thank you later!)

ITM

Another change in today’s banking starts outside at the drive-thru, where traditional pneumatic tubes are being updated with Interactive Teller Machines that allow for expanded services and hours.

Many of our clients who had deployed ITMs / PTM’s found that during COVID shutdowns, they were able to serve their customers with little issues, as the machine provides remote tellers located in remote locations.

The other advantage to ITM’s is they are not required to be physically attached to the building under a traditional canopy, allowing additional flexibility with a tight and limited site. They would also serve well for a location where a full-blown branch might no longer make sense, but you don’t want to abandon the area and continue to provide transactional service.

Retrofit for existing drive-thru lanes can happen, but it’s important to remember that the depth of your current island might be smaller if using a tube system. Engaging with an experienced team can help provide you answers for both existing and new locations.

ITM

The final piece of technology that we engage with often is never found within the branch, but instead a valuable piece of technology that can be used to provide insight on deciding on a location for a new branch or evaluating your existing branches.

Our phones we use today know an incredible amount about us, including the travel paths we take on a daily basis. When you combine that with demographics – you have an immensely powerful data tool that shows where a specific demographic group travels daily and can provide you with much more accurate insight on the potential location of your next branch. While general housing studies are important, knowing where your intended demographic visits on a weekly basis allows a much more precise area to locate property, as well as provide insight about your current branches that could influence how much you invest in them for renovations or future work.

That’s all for now! Stay tuned for the next piece as we examine the branch of tomorrow and how you can prepare for it today.

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