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Many lenders and consumers believe that the increase of digital banking spells the doom of bank branches. According to SNL Financial, there were 2,267 bank branches that closed in 2012, while just 1,149 new branches opened. Despite the decline in branches, banks remain to bet on their physical locations by presenting brand-new ideas, breakthroughs and modern technology.
Research from Bancography suggested that branches just were not closed since of decreased demand by consumers to make use of bank branches. Instead, branch closures were mainly a result of banks reducing network overlap following a merger or small banks choosing to exit specific markets.
It may be why banks are placing focus on improving and rejuvenating their branch concepts.
In the previous three years, Citibank has opened flagship branches including big spaces that house interactive media walls, free Wi-Fi for clients, customer aid through video conferencing and enhanced-image ATMs. And, these flagship branches imitate the architectural design made popular by Apple’s retailers.
Going the opposite direction, Wells Fargo is testing a new branch idea that accepts small physical footprints. The branches use up simply 1,000 square feet, rather than the regular 3,000 to 4,000-square-foot branches. Because there are no traditional teller windows, lenders walk around with mobile devices to serve clients.
While Chase may not be stressed over altering the size of its branches, it’s sprucing up the modern technology that drives customer experience. In recently built locations throughout the U.S., Chase is checking self-service teller stands (a big tablet replacing a teller inside a branch), instant-issue credit and debit cards, paperless teller deals (use of touchscreens) and video-conferencing with off-site bank experts.
PNC Bank and TD Bank haven’t announced any major plans to change their branch-banking concepts. Nonetheless, the two banks have built eco-friendly branches to reduce their environmental footprints. They are called “net zero energy” bank branches, which means that the the energy utilized by the branch is equal to or less than the energy produced by the branch. Various measures, such as solar panels, solar shading, sensor-controlled lights and computer systems and use of recycled products, are utilized to reduce the branches’ impact on the environment.
With huge banks taking the campaign to update branch abilities, they are blazing a trail for the evolution of branch financial, which may still matter in an age when we are eaten by the Web and our smartphones.
What’d you like your bank branch to do in the future? Comment below and let’s know!