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Branch Banking Essay

1162 words - 5 pages

Banking on Branch Banking
- Satwik Misra, CFA

A

s a student of business and a banker by
profession, I continue to be intrigued by
the powerful economic and customer
centric argument made by the ongoing Fintech
revolution. After all what is the deal about
Fintechs? Fintech startups have essentially
created a business model which avoids
structural formalities of being an institution,
while providing a more efficient means of
serving clients. This is exactly what makes the
move to digital extremely attractive for banks,
and ones who seek to reduce cost and change
with changing times, in other words modernize. The question that I seek to answer
through this post is that in ...view middle of the document...

In fact, they will complement the existing
branch services. Branches, will not disappear,
but their roles will change.
Another way of looking at this is observing
some of the legacy features of our age old
banking system. For example, and for reasons I
still don’t completely understand, but cheques
still exist, and I myself issue two cheque books
every year. Some argue that people are
fervently tied to both cash and branches. What
this means is that customers today value variety
of options and alternatives available to them,
such as mobile banking, NFC technology, online
statements, over a single choice i.e. digital only.
And if banks in ten years’ time are going to have
to be digital and still handle hard cash or
process cheques, then how they get managed
from a customer and cost perspective is what
becomes fundamental.
Ask yourself – how often have you found
yourself feeling frustrated by self-service
technologies and seeking that human
interaction while at check out counters, be it at
Ikea or Loblaws or even airports for that matter.

If I were to bet, I’ll put my money on human
sentiments and emotion as top reasons for
avoiding digital alternatives across the retail
industry.
Certainly, bank branches cannot afford to stay
as they are today. Many already look outdated
and uninviting. Queues are often too long, and
customer service can be poor. But, if we think
about how they are likely to change, we will
notice that bank branches are becoming stores.
However, it’s these very lessons that Canadian
banks can learn from success of retailers such
as Apple and Microsoft in this space. Apple Pay
has successfully moved Apple firmly into the
payments space, and likewise banks need to
ensure their in-branch and digital channels offer
the same cohesive service. While Microsoft/
Apple have an excellent online presence, their
stores are still flooded with customers. These
companies have adapted their physical store
offerings – theoretically redundant in an online
world – to make the customer experience
central to the reason for visiting, and providing
a powerful selling point for the brand.
Like Microsoft and Apple, the most innovative
and forward looking banks will have to invest in
branch makeovers to appeal to customers more
emotionally. They will have to change the role
of branch. The branch merely will become a
place where you have to go, to a showcase for
services. Transactions or services however will
happen online and/ or digitally.
I think we can all...

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