Facility Solutions: Robo branches, the next big thing?
Avoid past pitfalls with careful market analysis and visiting staff.
In a recent The Financial Brand article, Jeffry Pilcher, CEO, writes about Bank of America’s new “robo branch” concept. These unstaffed branches utilize an ATM and video conferencing within 1,000 to 1,500 square feet. Customers can set up meetings with staff remotely and then use the conference room when they arrive. A digital ambassador will be present at robo branch openings to make customers more comfortable with the new concept.
This concept has been tried in the past. In the late 90s, our firm installed 10 automated branches in Washington at the airport and shopping centers for BofA. There was an ATM, two phones and two PCs. These branches where dismantled within a year due to lack of use.
ATM use is a given, but the idea that customers will schedule appointments to talk with someone about high value services via video conferencing at a remote location is a stretch for most people.
That said, there are some applications where the concept can work. Since the introduction of remote teller technologies, we have been promoting the potential for automated branches at appropriate opportunities. Here are a few:
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