Facility Solutions: The branch romance

Time and reality change perceptions of whether physical locations are still valuable, but the way you re-engineer them is critical.

Between 2000 and 2010, banking technophiles implored the industry to shutter all their branches in favor of remote delivery. What logical person could continue old school operations in the face of perfect technology?

Like most romances or new discoveries, time and reality change perceptions from an initial singular focus to a more circumspect and real-life understanding. While technology is not only changing banking in previously unimaginable ways, we now understand that serving consumers as individuals requires ever-advancing multi-channel delivery under a powerful brand that connects to hearts and minds of a wide variety of target members. Multi-channel delivery means both technology and face-to-face contact.

While banks and credit unions have closed thousands of branches over the past 10 years, they have added nearly the same number back into the market. These new branches are very different. They are significantly smaller, often by 50 percent to 75 percent, require half the staff and are repositioned in the market to increase convenience. Operational focus has changed from cash delivery to providing personalized advice with highly trained staff and offering an engaging, unique and relevant brand experience aligned with all other methods of delivery.

Wells Fargo’s John Stumpf recently shared that millennials are among the customers who still make a trip to their branches. Seventy five percent of Wells Fargo’s customers come to into one of its branches once every six months.


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