With more bank branch closures recently announced by some of the high street’s biggest names, it is no secret that retail banking is under pressure.
Those that fail to invest correctly in their remaining branches are missing out on revenue-boosting opportunities via alternative branch formats.
Auriga is urging UK banks to follow the examples of their European counterparts and reap the rewards of digital transformation.
Examples from Europe’s banks
Millennium BCP, Portugal: offers ‘digital experience zones’, where assisted self-service terminals – dubbed ‘millennium teller machines’ – have replaced conventional devices.
Cariparma (part of Credit Agricole’s Group), Italy: has adopted a ‘hybrid’ bank branch approach, which embraces the adoption of self-service devices. It also provides spaces for community events.
Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy: provides a welcoming and well-organised environment, including ancillary services for the customer and community. Visitors may access tablets and free Wi-Fi.
UBI BANCA, Italy: transformed its bank branch to create a more meaningful experience and optimised the self-service channel by combining sleek design with new technologies.
How can the success of European banks be replicated in the UK?
Some UK banks have already made progress in realising the potential of the physical bank branch in terms of growth, for example, Halifax. Its new flagship branch on Oxford Street, London, features the Halifax ‘kitchen’ café, which increases dwell time in-branch and makes for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience.
Lloyds has also launched a £3m state-of-the-art branch, which includes a digital zone helping consumers with internet banking, biometric safe deposit technology and free Wi-Fi and phone charging.
While new sections within the transformed branches may rely on continued investment, they allow banks to maintain differentiation and maximise consumer choice.
These new branch formats, enabled by digital technologies, make in-branch an integral part of the overall omnichannel experience and showcase the various possibilities for the future of consumer finance. UK banks should be striking a balance between customers being able to perform a wider variety of self-service tasks, while also being able to consult with trained staff. They must be able to quickly roll out successful formats, ensuring that technological limitations and siloes don’t get in the way.
Banks should also measure the effectiveness and uptake of new channels and services before roll-out through analytics. British bank branches hold huge potential, and only poor choices, including the technology behind the channel (such as not choosing vendor-independent software) can lead to a failure to realise it.
While the trend of branch closures is likely to continue over the year, the role of the bank branch in customer engagement will become clearer. Increased investment into automation and customer experience will drive convergence between different banking channels, helping to create a seamless customer journey.
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER TO RECEIVE MORE NEWS LIKE THIS STORY
George Osborne optimistic that Open Banking will be ‘dramatic’ to industry
George Osborne has claimed that the big banks won’t necessarily look to move more quickly towards Open Banking as it represented a competitive threat to them...
Santander launches 'invisible cinema' experience to help tackle fraud
Santander has launched an ‘invisible cinema’ experience to teach under-25s about the importance of keeping financial information safe...
New CEO joins Buckinghamshire Building Society
Gerard O’Keeffe (pictured above) has started his role as the new CEO at Buckinghamshire Building Society...
STB Commercial Finance expands North West team
Secure Trust Bank (STB) Commercial Finance has appointed John Copping (pictured above) as regional sales director for the North West...
300 companies sign up to Women in Finance Charter
A total of 300 companies have now signed up to HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter....
Hanley Economic offers self-build product in Scotland
Hanley Economic Building Society has extended its self-build and residential mortgage offerings into Scotland with immediate effect...
Why it’s important to encourage female entrepreneurs
On Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we honour women in business, their fearless ambition, their achievements and successes...
TSB names new CEO
The board of TSB Bank PLC – with the support of Sabadell – has announced that Debbie Crosbie (pictured above) will become its new CEO in 2019, subject to regulatory approval...
Tandem opens community beta testing for autosavings
Tandem has invited its existing app users to join its autosavings beta testing community to help test its new proposition...
Secure Trust Bank enters Right to Buy market
Secure Trust Bank Mortgages (STB) has launched into the Right to Buy market with a range of mortgages for tenants looking to purchase their existing home...
Starling announces partnership with the Post Office
Starling Bank has announced that it has partnered with the Post Office as it looks to offer every day banking services to its customers...