The Royal Bank of Scotland is to spend over £1 billion over the next three years to rebuild its retail banking business, with investment in digital channels as the primary focus.
In a presentation to investors, the UK bank shared slides showing a steady decline in branch footfall and increase in mobile banking activity, forecasting that 50% of all retail transactions will be conducted via mobile devices by 2017, as opposed to less than five percent on the high street.
The £1 billion spend by the bank will reflect these trends, with an increasing switch to self-service and provision of advice at the branch level, married to a continued investment in mobile and online technology.
In the branch, this will entail a transformation from transaction centres to 'advice and education centres' with 'points of presence where our customers live, work and travel'. This includes an expansion of the ATM network to railway stations and the kitting out of branches with iPads and free wi-fi.
While the branch consumes 35% of the £1 billion budget, the lion's share of 40% is allocated to digital initiatives, with a further 25% going to infrastructure and systems.
In the digital realm this will mean new tablet banking and mobile apps, and the creation of 'innovative tools tailored to specific live events'.
In terms of infrastructural spend, the bank is planning the development of an open API protocol and the abolition of data silos to provide a single view of the customer.