Atom bank, a UK based digital only bank hoping to revolutionize online and mobile banking services in the market has announced that it will not be 100% digital when it launches later this year as it has reached a deal with a traditional high street lender to allow customers to deposit checks at a bank branches ahead of the mobile check deposit service becoming available.
The decision to cut a deal with a traditional lender has been caught up in controversy, with popular news outlet Mail on Sunday reporting that the underlying technology Atom plans to use is not ready and thus forcing the bank to enable a physical presence. However, Atom bank co-founder Mark Mullen has vocally disputed this fact saying that the bank is just responding to customer demand.
Whatever the reason for Atom Bank’s decision to use physical branches for a small part of its banking services and potentially only temporality, it highlights the issue digital only solutions face in the retail banking environment. Assuming Mullen is telling the truth, consumers and even millennials (a prime demographic for Atom Bank and other digital bank providers) still enjoy the in-branch human banking experience and as a result, finding ways of minimizing the cost of branches but still delivering a strong branch and digital banking capability is paramount.
Overview by Tristan Hugo-Webb, Associate Director, Global Payments Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group
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