I’m not going to comment on the content of Chris’ and Michael’s blogs, but do look forward to the “event” that may bring them together into the public arena in February – I hear Sky Box Office has had strong demand for pre-ticket sales! :-)
And I may be partly to blame for stoking the flames with a previous blog (To IP, or Not To IP..?) that could have inadvertently turned the argument into a black-and-white
one, when it is clearly full of shades of grey.
I also suspect that Messrs Skinner and Goldman are in fact violently agreeing with each other on 80%-90% of the issues.
Anyway… my questions to both gentleman, and anyone else who feels like sticking their head above the parapet, are these:
1) Why do people go to a retail banking branch in the 21st Century?
2) What is the future of retail banking in terms of products and services?
My personal opinion and experience is that I only go into a branch because I need to do something that I should be able to do without going into the branch – but can’t yet in the UK! – e.g. x-boarder or x-currency payments, urgent withdrawal, depositing
or moving of large sums, etc.
Does anyone go to their retail banking branch shopping for new products or services? Why try to sell, or cross-sell, to people in an environment where they have come in under duress and out of frustration because they can’t do what they want to do outside
If I was looking for a new credit card, loan, mortgage, deposit, savings, or insurance product, wouldn’t I be shopping for it on-line where I can compare the options?
In my experience, trying to sell to people in a situation where they are NOT looking to buy is a waste of energy compared to selling to them in an environment where they have already decided to buy!
Some other factors that must question the future shape of retail branch banking in the UK:
1) UK Faster Payments – from May 2008 it will be possible to move sums of money in almost real-time, so there will no longer be a need to withdraw cash from one branch and run to another bank’s branch to deposit the same in an urgent
2) End of Cheques
- Major retailers that no longer accept cheques include; Argos, Boots, Next, Sainsbury's, WH Smith, Currys, and those that could soon follow suit, include Asda, Morrisons, PC World and Tesco.
I apologise if I seem negative about the need for retail branch banking – but I do struggle to see its relevance in the future?
I can see a need for branches servicing SMEs who may, for now, have to deal with cash on a daily basis - but even that is likely to change in the future!