Feb 20 2019

The Bank Branch of the Future Is Here Now

Video, digital signage and other tech fuse mobile banking with a great in-branch experience.

Imagine a typical bank branch, and what do you see? Most people see sterile design, tall counters with tellers behind them, branch managers sitting behind desks and ballpoint pens chained to tables. Not since the 1980s, when banks started widely installing ATMs, have U.S. bank and credit union branches updated much in tools or design.

Not until now, that is. Today’s branches are undergoing a dramatic makeover as institutions try to appeal to modern consumers who increasingly demand a combination of personalized service and advanced technology.

Nearly 85 percent of financial institutions renovating or building a new branch plan to install digital signage, 65 percent are installing interactive experiences and 50 percent plan to use tablets in the branch, according to Codigo’s “Branch Transformation 2017” report.

The reasons are clear: As much as digital experience and mobile banking continues to grow in importance among consumers, most still demand access to branches. About two out of three respondents to PwC’s 2018 Digital Banking Consumer Survey, a massive survey of more than 4,000 financial services customers, said a local branch is important to them when considering where to bank. And one in four respondents said they won’t even consider a bank that doesn’t have a branch near them.

McKinsey, meanwhile, found in 2016 that 54 percent of American consumers prefer in-branch banking transactions to mobile or digital banking. Branches “can still play a critical role in building trust and credibility, providing financial advisory services, offering convenience, and assisting in the transition to digital channels,” according to the consulting firm. However, “In an increasingly digital world, bank executives must rethink the branch and the services it offers.”


Video, Digital Signage Enable Tomorrow’s Bank Today

Examples abound of banks and credit unions deploying advanced technology in revamped branches, especially video that allows customers live access to a wide variety of professionals and digital signage that displays dynamic information about everything from banking products to community events.

Among the companies providing video and digital signage solutions specifically to banks are Black Box, LG, NEC and ViewSonic.

In Chicago, the BMO Harris Bank “smart branch” features video screens that provide access to live tellers and advanced professionals who can help with mortgage applications, retirement planning and more; advanced ATMs that enable cash withdrawals without the use of a debit card; and tablet-equipped bank employees who engage customers directly.

The downtown Portland, Ore., branch of Umpqua Bank includes an interactive touch-screen app wall, featuring bank products and services, in-house apps and even mobile apps recommended by the staff. And the Regions Bank concept branch in Alabama provides customers access to universal tellers, trained to offer a full range of services beyond just deposits and withdrawals, through live video feeds.

“Customers are loving video bankers,” Brandon Greve, a consumer banking executive for Regions, told Alabama NewsCenter. “If we can get a customer to try the video banker and see that it’s a live person, they love them.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Discover how businesses are deploying cutting-edge video technology.

Video Is Key to Modernizing Bank Branches

We hear many stories like these. One bank CDW worked with found that as it grew, it wasn’t feasible to hire loan officers to work at every branch, so we helped them deploy kiosks at each one, enabling customers to access officers via live video feed. The solution allows the bank to more efficiently deploy its human resources while better serving its customers.

The key is the right mix of technology paired with a smart strategy that includes a role for modern branches. While it’s true that today’s banking consumers demand a seamless digital and mobile-banking experience, they also want access to live professionals to answer their questions and help manage their finances. Branches equipped with the latest video technology help banks of any size meet that demand.

This article is part of BizTech's EquITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #FinanceTech hashtag.


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