The Future of Branch Banking….Or Does it Have One?

Certainly! But that future (as with most traditional institutions) is contingent on a complete re-think of the brick and mortar value proposition. Let”s be honest, for most people today the local branch is unnecessary for traditional banking needs. That being said, there is a wealth of untapped value within these establishments that could provide a service so desperately needed in our society today. Here are three things the banking sector should consider in order to capitalize on its valuable resources in brick and mortar branches.

Recognize that their value must move from transactional to transformational. 

Banks must recognize that we have a far more resourceful consumer then we ever had at any period in history. As a result, banks must look for ways in which they can adapt and evolve to a changing consumer dynamic, wherein convenience to and connection with specific consumer needs outside of traditional banking still requires a personal touch. I recently moved my accounts to a local bank after being with one of the largest banking institutions in the country. I moved because I wanted a human being that could make decisions beyond the submission of paperwork. In the age of mass customization, consumers are looking for a unique experience they cannot get anywhere else.

Recognize unconventional emerging markets in banking.

We live in the information age and consumers are “banking” everything from Facebook posts, Tweets, and family photo albums. Bank branches should look to replicate what they”ve traditionally done in finance to other sectors, especially if concepts of time and data continue to emerge as alternative forms of currency.


Move toward a mass customization model of financial planning and spending.

Big data is all the rage, but most companies aren”t quite sure how to translate that into dramatically improving their client”s condition.  Banks are entrusted to hold the proverbial vehicle to our life”s goals and aspirations. Imagine your local banker operating in a role that works to help you uncover your long-term aspirations and goals (because, if we”re honest, most of us don”t know what those actually are) and matches your financial options to achieve them. You may be thinking they already do this, but if the input and output are the same, i.e., invest money to make more money, then the long-term value of that service will quickly deteriorate, especially if public trust in the financial system continues to decline.

Every major institution in our society – education, government, religion, etc., falls into 1 of 2 categories: Evolving or dying.

So how do you know which category you fall into? Easy. You should know after answering these two questions:

  1. What is the relevance of my role, organization, institution, or industry in today”s market?
  2. If my role, organization, institution, or industry were to disappear today, would the world even notice?

So for those of you in the banking industry, do not limit yourself to the traditional roles you were assigned in the 20th century. Go beyond thinking big and re-think the context. There are new market opportunities in the midst of these changes just waiting to be seized.

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