North American retail banks are renewing their focus on branch networks and refraining from investing solely in electronic channels, according to a new report from Celent Communications.
The report, "Delivery Innovations—Branch Automation in North America," predicts that annual IT spending on branch automation by deposit-taking institutions will grow from $3.7 billion in 2002 to $4.4 billion by 2006 — a respectable growth rate in the midst of general IT malaise in the banking sector.
Celent predicts that banks will increasingly emphasise entirely new strategies to provide customers with access to multi-channel and multi-product services within the branch. Banks will also initiate innovative approaches to expand their branch networks, says the research company.
Octavio Marenzi, managing director at Celent and co-author of the report, says: "The realisation that the branch will not be entirely eclipsed by electronic delivery channels is leading to a renewed emphasis on updating branches to better equip this customer touch-point, not only in order to improve customer services, but also to enhance the advisory role of the branch."