23 July 2016
Find out more

Tech breathes life into branches - Nationwide chief Beale

19 May 2014  |  10572 views  |  1 Nationwide

Far from killing off traditional branches, digital technology could breathe new life into them, Nationwide chief executive Graham Beale has told Finextra.

Banks including Barclays and RBS have warned that their branch networks are set to shrink dramatically over the next few years as more and more customers turn to online and mobile channels to carry out basic transactions.

Meanwhile, financial services firms have been exploring how to make the most of the branches they do keep, finding ways to save costs by having more technology and fewer but more specialised employees.

Nationwide has sought to harness technology by rolling out in-branch video links that let customers talk to off-site mortgage consultants. The Nationwide Now project has so far reached around 60 branches, with more to come.

Beale thinks that in the future customers will use the face-to-face video service from the comfort of their own homes via tablets and laptops.

But in the meantime the technology is actually helping to keep branches alive because it is far more economically viable for remote branches with low demand than full-time mortgage consultants. This means that branches can justify their existence.

"A lot of people say that the impact of digital is going to remove branches from the high street. We're forming an alternative view," says Beale.

Nationwide says that 94% of customers who have used the video links think that the service is a good or excellent replacement for face-to-face meetings. Beale tells Finextra that the building society has made moves to make the system as personal as possible. For example, advisors ask customers if they want a cup of tea and then contact the in-branch team to get one delivered.

"There's a very good way of melding very modern technology with all the benefits and cosiness of a branch environment," he argues.


Nationwide CEO Graham Beale talks to Finextra at the BSA Annual Conference

Comments: (1)

Brett King
Brett King - Moven - New York | 20 May, 2014, 16:30

Nice in theory, but it is an extremely expensive way to house remote customer service or product specialists. Mortgage is one of those decisions that will require advice on an ongoing basis, but if you pull mortgage advisory out of the branch, why else would I go to a branch. Ergo, why would I need physical spaces?

I think the argument is flawed 

Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 thumb ups! (Log in to thumb up)
Comment on this story (membership required)

Finextra news in your inbox

For Finextra's free daily newsletter, breaking news flashes and weekly jobs board: sign up now

Related stories

SunTrust opens innovation branch to test new tech

SunTrust opens innovation branch to test new tech

12 May 2014  |  4919 views  |  0 comments | 7 tweets | 4 linkedin
Nationwide rolls out in-branch video links for mortgage advice

Nationwide rolls out in-branch video links for mortgage advice

16 April 2014  |  4564 views  |  0 comments | 3 tweets | 7 linkedin
RBS to close 44 branches as customers go mobile

RBS to close 44 branches as customers go mobile

03 April 2014  |  7250 views  |  0 comments | 10 tweets | 9 linkedin
UK mobile banking transactions double in one year

UK mobile banking transactions double in one year

31 March 2014  |  14963 views  |  1 comments | 32 tweets | 23 linkedin
Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks to cut branch network; invest in Internet and mobile

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks to cut branch network; invest in Internet and mobile

25 March 2014  |  5986 views  |  0 comments | 11 tweets | 9 linkedin
@AskNationwide goes 24/7; overhauls Web presence

@AskNationwide goes 24/7; overhauls Web presence

11 March 2014  |  4137 views  |  0 comments | 11 tweets | 7 linkedin
JPMorgan Chase to cut 8000 jobs and shrink branches

JPMorgan Chase to cut 8000 jobs and shrink branches

26 February 2014  |  5639 views  |  4 comments | 7 tweets | 6 linkedin
Barclays to replace 400 branches with supermarket outlets

Barclays to replace 400 branches with supermarket outlets

29 January 2014  |  8098 views  |  5 comments | 24 tweets | 10 linkedin
Online and mobile gaining ground over telephone and branch-based banking - YouGov

Online and mobile gaining ground over telephone and branch-based banking - YouGov

10 January 2014  |  8894 views  |  4 comments | 17 tweets | 14 linkedin
Co-op to slash jobs and branch network in £500 million IT overhaul

Co-op to slash jobs and branch network in £500 million IT overhaul

04 November 2013  |  4788 views  |  0 comments | 7 tweets | 1 linkedin
UK has lost 40% of bank and building society branches since 1989

UK has lost 40% of bank and building society branches since 1989

20 August 2013  |  6453 views  |  1 comments | 9 tweets | 4 linkedin
PNC opens pop-up branch

PNC opens pop-up branch

02 August 2013  |  6075 views  |  0 comments | 10 tweets | 4 linkedin
US branch transaction volumes see eye-popping decline

US branch transaction volumes see eye-popping decline

24 May 2013  |  7559 views  |  0 comments | 16 tweets | 9 linkedin
US branch networks set for steep decline - Celent

US branch networks set for steep decline - Celent

17 May 2013  |  7153 views  |  1 comments | 16 tweets | 8 linkedin
AIB opens branch to showcase digital services

AIB opens branch to showcase digital services

16 April 2013  |  10437 views  |  0 comments | 14 tweets | 7 linkedin

Related company news

 

Related blogs

Create a blog about this story (membership required)
Visit www.abe-eba.euFind out moreVisit capgemini.com

Top topics

Most viewed Most shared
MasterCard agrees £700m VocaLink acquisitionMasterCard agrees £700m VocaLink acqu...
7966 views 14 comments | 32 tweets | 36 linkedin
hands typing furiouslyWhat Every FinTech CEO Should Know About R...
7808 views 0 | 14 tweets | 8 linkedin
hands typing furiouslyBanking on IoT: Security in the Internet o...
7662 views 3 | 19 tweets | 6 linkedin
Santander doubles down on fintech fundSantander doubles down on fintech fund
7557 views comments | 22 tweets | 28 linkedin
Brexit-scarred London fintech startups enquire about moving to BerlinBrexit-scarred London fintech startups enq...
7457 views comments | 16 tweets | 16 linkedin

Featured job


Brussels (Belgium) or Paris (France)

Find your next job