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Listening to people from different parts of Europe, everybody claims that banking went online, and the role of branches significantly decreased. In my example, the last times i visited a branch of my bank was when i opened my account and when i applied for
a mortgage loan. For every other reason i use online and mobile banking, and of course ATMs occasionaly. Honestly I do not have a good feeling when i need to go to the branch, i am afraid of not finding a parking place nearby and then queueing in the bank.
When i ask other people why branches are important, i often get the answers that this building a sense of trust to their bank and they can get explanation of the complex products like - again - mortgages.
I can confirm, mortgages are complex, very difficult to understand for most of the people, including myself. Somehow the relationship
branch means mortgage means headache
became the perception of the customers.
How to solve this challenge? Employ better people in braches? Take the
mortgages online? I don't think so.
One solution can be to create much simpler mortgage offerings which are not frightening for the customers. It shouldn't be more complex then a term deposit. 3-4 parameters to be set, simple process (and hide all the internals, like flat valuation, debtor list
check and scoring please), and finally simple, visualized offers, which are the signable contracts as well. Is it possible?
I think your analysis on branches are "spot on", branches in the future will change alot, and will become "sales offices".
The trend in Northern Europe is that branches moves from being the daily errands office, into a high value sales office. The bank sell loans and consulting services, in a branch where the bank can meet their affluent customers. The trend is very clear, Some
Swedish banks already started with cash-less branches.
Other trends is that banks are buying real estate companies, to reach the customer in the context when the customer is about to decide which bank to use for their house loan, and to start sell packages, that includes loan, insurances, packaged in a way that
makes it easy and comfortable for the customer to choose.
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This post is from a series of posts in the group:
A discussion of trends in innovation management within financial institutions, and the key processes, technology and cultural shifts driving innovation.