Online appointment setting will become the ‘new normal’ in banking

The pandemic moved a little-used digital app into the mainstream when branch lobbies restricted walk-in traffic. As it turns out, banking by appointment has several quantifiable benefits in addition to helping promote safety.

Times of crisis tend to stimulate innovation. We saw that 12 years ago with the financial crisis and again in 2020 with COVID-19. The impact of the pandemic on banking has been massive and ongoing, and will continue to be analyzed. Much of the focus has been on broad themes such as “digital transformation” and “changed consumer behavior” — both critically important.

Less often mentioned is one of the earliest changes made in response to the pandemic: “banking by appointment.” Online appointment setting (OAS) became a hot topic almost overnight beginning in March 2020 when many financial institutions shut down general lobby access and started operating through drive-ups and in-lobby appointments.

Some gradual reopening has occurred since then, though in certain markets closures are happening again. The larger question is:

Will consumers (and bankers) continue to require banking by appointment as an option when we eventually return to “normal”?


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