The Future of Branches: Reinvention

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Branch teller transactions are down, and the trend is expected to continue as check usage diminishes and new services like mobile phone image capture are adopted by more banks. Some financial analysts look at the numbers and clamor for more branch closings to right size the branch network and improve profits. This article reminds us that the answer may not be fewer branches, but branches that are more effective at selling financial products.

Consider changing marketplace demographics and the opportunities they present. The first Baby Boomers begin to turn 65 this year, and, with more than $3 trillion in buying power, Boomers remain the most lucrative demographic segment in the U.S. Retail banking has essentially grown up serving this population. Many Boomers still “prefer” branches, but even Boomer behavior is changing as this demographic continues to adopt online and mobile channels. There is an opportunity to refocus the branch channel and the employees within on the new financial concerns of the Boomer population including asset preservation and liquidation strategies; affordability of elder care services; disability income strategies; and managing mandatory retirement distributions, government benefits programs, estate plans, taxes, etc.

Now let’s consider the other generational behemoth, Generation Y. It’s certainly true that members of this generation rarely, if ever, visit a bank branch. But that too may change. The leading edge of Gen Y is about to turn 30 and serious financial needs will begin to emerge, such as combining finances with a spouse, affording/buying a first home and saving for retirement.

For more information read the story in Banking Strategies: