The Future of the Branch in the Age of the Digital Bank

The Future of the Branch in the Age of the Digital Bank blog

Combining the convenience of self-service with personal attention helps satisfy consumers

Financial service consumers have high expectations: they require in-person assistance when advice and help is sought, and they want the speed and convenience of on-demand self-service channels. By appropriately evolving and automating branches, financial institutions can provide an experience that balances the delivery of the personal attention consumers need with the self-service capabilities many of them want.

Here’s how:

Make brick and mortar changes

Implementing a three-tiered branch concept can be a key approach toward delivering a balanced set of consumer-service experiences.

Showcase your flagship branches

Flagship branches provide the single best opportunity to display your brand and deliver a premium consumer experience. Here, all your technology and servicing should be on full display, addressing the needs of consumers who want and need the human touch, as well as those who want significant self-servicing options.

Flagship branches should be inviting, spacious and open. They can be staffed with greeters or a concierge to get consumers quickly in-touch with your experts – bankers or advisory staff – who can quickly deliver meaningful, direct assistance.

These branches should also take full advantage of branch automation capabilities, such as teller cash recyclers and self-service and video-enabled Interactive Branch Kiosks (IBKs), using these technologies to increase efficiency and servicing.

Consider micro branches

Micro branches have a smaller footprint and may be in shared spaces, such as malls or supermarkets. The staff is reduced and not all services may be available here. These branches generally focus on advisory and high-volume services, and self-service and/or video-enabled IBKs are also usually featured.

Extend your reach with a “branch in a box”

Taking up less than 100 square feet, the “branch in a box” concept contains secure, drive-up or walk-up self-service or video IBKs – to extend your service hours and the reach of your brand.

Implement branch automation capabilities

Deploying branch automation strategies and tools can improve efficiency, provide significant self-service options for consumers, and drive growth and success.

Start with insights from advisors

Industry advisors such as those at Fiserv can help you evaluate branch technology upgrades or outsourcing options, to ensure your financial institution is using technology and relevant business processes to deliver an elevated consumer experience.

It is vital to understand your market, your consumers and the solutions available to you. An analysis of emerging trends, tools and branch management tactics and strategies can widen your perspective and point the way to innovations to achieve your performance goals. Working with an experienced advisor can help you make sense of market developments and industry buzz.

Advisors can guide you in several key branch automation areas including branch-network optimization, cash-management optimization and self-service fleet tech assessments. These approaches can help you meet your consumers’ expectations and deliver optimal banking moments that balance automated experiences and staff interactions.


Business value of modernization

In 2022, Fiserv commissioned marketing intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC) to analyze the impact of the Fiserv approach to branch modernization. The results – reported in “The Business Value of Branch Modernization” – showed that branch modernization reduced branch wait time by 49%, improved customer satisfaction by 28% and improved employee satisfaction by 36%.

The technology recommended by Fiserv supports branch modernization by automating branch operations and providing in-branch self-service options that enhance accountholder experiences while lowering operational costs.


Add self-service tools

Implementing new branch automation solutions can provide flexibility and convenience to your associates and consumers. Consider implementing:

  • IBKs – These enhanced ATMs connect to core banking systems, remote video tellers or both, enabling consumers to conduct transactions formerly requiring in-person assistance. When connected to a financial institution’s core banking system, the kiosks enable consumers to conduct self-service transactions, including making payments on a loan or credit card, cashing checks and making deposits, withdrawals and transfers. These kiosks can extend a financial institution’s business hours and location availability, and require fewer associates to support interactions.
  • Video-enabled IBKs – Consumers can initiate sessions to see and speak with a teller. Personalized assistance can be provided for check cashing, mixed deposits, transfers, withdrawals, general service inquiries and other financial institution-defined services. Financial institutions can extend service hours and provide staffing flexibility to support new locations or mitigate service impacts from branch or drive-through closures. Tellers can also help consumers learn to self-service, leading to further savings.
  • Teller cash recyclers (TCRs) – TCRs are self-balancing secure cash drawers operated by your branch personnel - in any floor plan - that free your staff from time-consuming cash handling tasks. With no drawer to balance during the day, branch staff can assist consumers with more complex transactions.

Adopting new terminals with enhanced servicing capabilities can improve associate productivity, extend your business footprint and improve customer satisfaction.

Outsource cash management and services

Consider outsourcing the management and operation of your cash infrastructure to a qualified service provider. A managed-services partner can provide robust support that enables you to improve your branch environment and add control and visibility to your costs and performance, so you can devote more time to your other business priorities.

Streamline operations and drive revenue growth

Your branch servicing and automation approach can help you achieve improved results, such as:

  • Reduced branch costs – Evolution and automation can lead to substantial savings, including building smaller branches, replacing teller counters and eliminating pricey infrastructure such as pneumatic tubes, vaults and undercounter steel.
  • More revenueEvolution and automation can increase self-service transactions and drive revenue growth through higher loan volume, increased transaction volume and more new account openings.
  • A flexible workforceBranch automation creates elevated employee development and career paths that can improve workforce satisfaction and retention while attracting new, skilled associates. Staff can concentrate on building relationships with consumers and providing financial consulting and services.
  • Enhanced productivity – Deploying technology can dramatically reduce branch staff handling of routine transactions as well as time spent handling cash. These efficiencies benefit all associates including teller staff, branch managers and advisory staff.

When form and function meet

Branches will continue to evolve. Your challenge is to reimagine them as financial service centers that can readily perform value-added interactions with your consumers. By implementing your unique vision, you can turn branches into the ideal channel for modernized, personalized service delivery.

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