The Ever-Evolving Branch Landscape

by Edward O'Brien 0

As banks, thrifts, and other financialinstitutions seek ways to be more efficient – yet responsive – tocustomer and member needs, many are reassessing just what a branchis, or should be.

Many financial institutions are assessing branch size andconfigurations for various locations and customer needs. Some areopening up smaller branches that are considerably less than thetypical 5,000 – 10,000 square foot branch, and some branches are assmall as 1,000 – 3,000 square feet.

In such cases, financial institutions are increasingly relying ona both traditional and self-service capabilities,including combinations of ATMs, kiosks, online and mobile banking,and in some cases remote tellers. Often, the customer experiencecan be similar to supermarket self-service checkout devices orairline check-in kiosks.

Other examples include branches that resemble retail stores orhotel lobbies, with some offering space for such non-bankingactivities as book readings and yoga classes for both customers andnon-customers.

Financial institutions are also increasingly expanding their reachwithin branches to include dedicated spaces for wealth managementplanning and execution, as well to offer lending, investments, andinsurance advice to small business customers.

These are but a few examples of new and expanded types – and uses -of branches. However, this is but a subset of the many fresh andnovel ideas being introduced by institutions regularly.Consequently, all institutions should keep abreast of newinnovations in channel strategies – and particularly branchstrategy – as they strive to be competitive in theirmarkets.