Bridge the Gap Between Digital Convenience & In-Branch Interactions.
Banks are closing physical branches in spades – despite a growing economy – as customers move to online banking. And this isn’t an accident. Banks are actively creating tools that push control into the hands of their users. Despite this, those tools are designed to cover 80% of financial use cases – which means that people still need help from humans from time to time. And when they do interact with bank employees, they’ve been trained by super-simple and easy digital tools, so they expect human interactions to be similarly fast, convenient, and on their schedule. As a result, banks have been working creatively on integrating new technologies that govern how, where, and when they operate to serve their customers without completely foregoing that in-person expertise and service. The solution? Keep reading to find out.
For decades, banks needed to add new locations to grow, pushing the number of U.S. branches to a peak in 2009. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, some started closing branches realizing they could save money to contend with low-interest rates and increasing regulatory costs. Along the way, lenders realized they could maintain their deposit levels with fewer locations in a digital world where customers often prefer banks’ mobile apps and ATMs. To be clear, banks are still opening branch locations, just not fast enough to net out to an increase and make up for the ones they are closing.
In fact, over the past two decades, banks have even started purposefully discouraging customers from visiting their lobbies. Beyond simply driving customers to automated channels: online banking, mobile apps, and chatbots – banks have even gone as far as charging their customers fees whenever they use tellers or lobby-related activities. The cycle becomes self-fulfilling at that point, which explains why over 1,700 banks have closed from June 2016-June 2017 and why we’re in the longest stretch of bank closures since the Great Depression (source: Wall Street Journal).