New Year, New Branch – Virtual Branch Banking in 2018

by Tia Lee 0

Businessman touching a dashboard with key performance indicator
This Year, Should You Consider a Virtual Branch?

Welcome to 2018!  Consumers are used to having everything they need available at the click of a button or tap of a finger. They order take out, buy plane tickets, even control the heat in their homes, all from wherever they roam.

Consumers expect the same convenience from their financial institutions. The growing popularity of online banking means connecting with and providing appropriate services for your customers is more important than ever. Brick and mortar bank branches, once central to retail banking institutions, no longer hold the same importance they once did. Given this, is now the time to consider a virtual branch banking transformation this year?

What is a virtual branch?

Essentially, a virtual branch allows branch employees to deliver branch services to customers wherever they may be. This can include anything: virtual account onboarding, loan and mortgage applications, deposits, virtual customer service, and even mobile banking.

Clients and members can meet all of their banking needs where and when it is convenient for them. Whether it’s shift workers at the plant, nurses on hospital shifts, or farmers in their fields – virtual branch employees can meet people wherever and whenever they need. This service is especially relevant to millennials – now the largest age cohort in the workforce, and likely a strong representation of your financial institution’s customer base – who prefer to have on-the-go access to banking 24/7.

A Virtual Branch to Meet Consumer Demands

The data is clear.  Clients and members do not want to visit a physical bank branch if they don’t absolutely have to. Over 50% of people visit a bank branch no more than once a month, and an increasing  majority would rather avoid visiting a bank branch all together.

55% of Canadians are doing most of their banking online, and 31% are doing it from their smartphones. This number has increased from just 5% since 2010, and will continue to grow as the population of digital natives increases.

Nearly 70% of millennials use mobile banking already, a sign that demand for and consumption of mobile banking will only increase.

Increase Branch Reach with Virtual Branch Banking

Once upon a time, a brick and mortar bank branch was the cornerstone of retail banking. However, the growing popularity of online banking means that these branches are no longer as relevant or convenient to most customers.

Although the brick and mortar bank branch has traditionally been the retail banking hub, the growing popularity of online banking is reducing the demand for them . The branch is no longer relevant or even necessary to most customers. In fact, we predict that 2018 will begin the obsolescence of brick and mortar bank branches.

Given the adoption rate of mobile banking, prioritizing brick and mortar branches makes no sense. Physical branch locations are expensive, and significantly limit your reach, geographically, demographically, and virtually. When you prioritize these branches you exclude potential clients or members who don’t live or work nearby, anyone who can’t travel to a branch, and the increasing number of people who prefer to bank online.

Virtualize Your Branch to Grow & Save

Brick and mortar bank branches cost between 1.5 and 2.5 million dollars to open and $400,000 a year to maintain. That is a significant investment per location. With a virtual branch, you can scale service while at the same time reducing overhead.

A virtual branch allows you to utilize your existing employees more efficiently. Because the virtual branch mobilizes your staff to meet your customers wherever they may be, you don’t have to worry about staffing multiple branches with experienced financial experts.

Your employees can bring branch services right to the client or member through a tablet or smartphone, making previously tedious and time-consuming processes (like customer onboarding) quick and easy. This helps eliminate customer pain points, making your financial institution much more attractive.

Since the employee goes directly to the customer to gather information, scan identification, and collect signature digitally, transactions are paperless. This means services are delivered quickly, efficiently, and securely – not to mention the costs saved in paper, printing, and shredding. You’ll also save additional costs (thanks to the efficiency a virtual branch brings) by eliminating all of the time spent printing, copying and scanning forms.

Deliver the Omni-Channel Experience Customers Expect

With mobile banking, your clients/members have access to self-service banking anytime, anywhere from their own device.

With virtual branch banking, bank employees provide branch banking services to your customer wherever they need through a bank employee’s device.

When you combine mobile banking and virtual branch banking, you deliver an omni-channel banking experience unlike other banking institutions. This means a seamless experience for customers who want, and/or need, to interact and transact banking through both mobile and virtual mediums, all while ensuring their information is kept secure.

Omni-channel banking may sound like just another buzzword, but it is what your customers have come to expect today. Traditional physical bank branches, with all their constraints, no longer meet the needs of today’s retail banking and business banking clients. The landscape has evolved, and so must your branch to keep up with demand.

It’s clear that the future of retail banking won’t happen in the traditional bank branch.  It will happen wherever and whenever your customers need. This year, make sure that you are right there with them, with a virtual branch.

To learn more about how your branch can offer Virtual Branch Banking to your customers – go to:

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