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In our last blog post, we discussed technology that is being implemented into branches today to further engage your customers, improve their experience, and provide more efficiency for your employees. The technology we are seeing today needs to reduce the friction between your institution and your customers, making the experience easy and memorable. But what’s next? What role will financial institutions serve over the next five to ten years?


Service Centers & Help Desk

First – the physical branch channel is not going away anytime soon. However, their function will. Mobile channels and banking technology are quickly replacing the traditional transactions inside the branch. Mobile deposits, mobile debit cards, online loan applications, and remote Interactive Teller Machines (ITM) will only become easier, and as customers become more familiar and trusting of this, these will greatly reduce transactional counts to the vast majority of customers.

However, money (and more appropriately having access) is not only important but becomes very personal and because of that, the branch of tomorrow still exists and plays a role in our society. They will continue to provide psychological reinforcement that your money is there and accessible when you need it. As digital wallets become more popular and the need for in-person transactions continues to drive down, the function of branches will change to become service centers, where customers can walk in and get personal assistance for whatever services they need. Need a car loan? No problem. Need to speak with a wealth management advisor? We’ve got that too. Lost your debit card and need a new one or forgot your banking password? There’s someone who can do that too.

Interra Credit Union Lobby
Interra Credit Union Lobby
Oxford Bank Branch

More With Less

The size of branches will change too – large, expansive buildings with huge transaction counters are no longer needed. Efficient and adaptable spaces of under 2,500 SF will be the new norm – and many places even smaller. A large, attached drive-thru is no longer needed as you have remote ITM’s in the community, and mobile banking has eased that traffic as well. Because bank branches of tomorrow will be more service centers, they will also need to have a variety of spaces designed to handle all the situations you will be faced with – from lost passwords to a new business loan.

Informal spaces for general discussions around a hospitality area with an advisor, or private and secure rooms with video capability to bring in experts in your network will matter. Customer waiting areas will now be customer lounges where informal discussions can happen over a fresh cup of coffee – the hospitality and service will be elevated and create a customer experience that can’t be matched from an app or online bank.

Oxford Bank Branch

Complimenting the Digital Experience

The branch of tomorrow will deploy technology that will allow your service and retail facing team members to be in multiple places at once using remote technology. Using an app, your customer can book a time to have a discussion with a mortgage officer that day, whether they decide to do so in person or via screentime. A space designed to accommodate both experiences will be important and allow for efficient one on one conversations in a private area – with your brand in mind. With enhanced customer service in the forefront of a branch, technology that knows when your customers are there will welcome them on entry screens and could even adjust marketing displays based on their recent mobile history. The technology inside the branch will further complement the digital experience and provide a smooth and memorable experience for your customers.

The branch of tomorrow will continue to be an important channel for your delivery of financial services and will require you to think differently and deploy technology and spaces that can be used for multiple purposes and be adaptable for the future. The shift in thinking will allow you to engage in smaller and more efficient branches, potentially even reusing existing building infill in redeveloping and growing areas that were once before not possible, also helping improve sustainable strategies for building reuse.

Interra Credit Union Lounge
Interra Credit Union Lounge

Stay tuned for the next topic – the future of (virtual?) retail branches!

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