Banking Channels are Front and Center in 2013

by Edward O'Brien 0

Now that 2013 is here, this is a good time totake a moment to review some of the key trends occurring in bankingchannels. The trend towards increased dependence on, and importanceof, banking channels continues to be a main theme for financialinstitutions.

As branches continue to evolve from a base for labor-intensive,transaction-based interactions to hubs for advice-basedcollaboration, self-service banking channels are taking on more ofinstitutions’ heavy lifting. Financial Institutions arerepositioning branches into destinations that combine elements offull-service advice with self-service or hybrid self-andfull-service models to interact with customers.

Results from Mercator Advisory Group’s CustomerMonitor SurveySeries on Banking Channels show that financial institutions’customers are increasingly using channels (particularly ATMs,online banking, and mobile banking) in expanded roles as part oftheir day-to-day banking experience. Additionally, call and contactcenters are being staffed with highly trained customer sales andservice representatives who are equipped to be customer advocatesin a wide variety of areas.

Intelligent deposit and deposit automation ATMs are playing anintegral role in branch strategy. And as manufacturers andfinancial institutions deploy more of these machines, customers areusing them for more than basic withdrawals, and are becoming amajor source of customer deposits. In fact, about a fifth ofconsumers in an upcoming Mercator Advisory Group Banking ChannelsCustomerMonitor Survey Series report cited ATM deposits as aprimary reason to visit a branch in 2012.

Similarly, the proliferation of mobile devices has opened new waysfor financial institutions to communicate and interact with theircustomers and members. There are mobile banking solutions forvirtually all customers, including solutions for feature phones,smartphones, and tablets, as well as an increasing array of onlinebanking solutions and planning tools.

As we look ahead to 2013, channels will undoubtedly continue toplay an important role in institutions’ go-to-market strategy. Formost financial institutions, the execution of their channelstrategy will be a key factor in their operating efficiency andeffectiveness, and ultimately their overall profitability.