One in every two visits to a bank branch now involves self-service transactions rather than human interaction, according to data from the UK's Halifax.
Halifax logged 69 million interactions with customers in June - a rise of 47% on the same month of 2014 - as consumers increasingly turned to their smartphones to deal with their financial affairs. More than half (57.2%) of the recorded transactions came through a mobile app, with mobile log-ins accounting for 66% of Internet banking interactions.
While nearly half of Halifax customers use a combination of online, mobile, telephone and branch banking to service their accounts, only 10.3% of interactions in June were captured during branch visits, and more than half of these were conducted through self-service machines.
The figures point to a new role for the branch as an (expensive) extension of a bank's digital footprint, only rarely catering for more qualitative financial advice from a human advisor.
Nonetheless, Nick Williams, digital director, Halifax, maintains that branches continue to play an important role in people’s lives.
“The future of banking means continuing to deliver great service across all channels, enabling our customers to bank where they want, how they want and when they want," he says. "A growing number of customers want the best of both worlds - the convenience of banking on the move, alongside a helping hand from their local branch when they need it. We are committed to giving our customers extra by providing services that meet their banking needs across mobile, online, telephone and branch banking.”