Accenture acquires branch design consultancy Allen International

Source: Accenture

Accenture has acquired Allen International, a leading design consultancy focused on helping banks transform their branch networks and digital capabilities to reduce costs, increase revenues and better engage customers.

Allen International has worked with more than 350 banks around the world including nine of the top 20 banks.

“Threats to profitability mean banks must be clear on what the role and value of the branch is, to ensure it plays the right part in consumer’s lives today. Our acquisition of Allen International will expand and complement our capabilities to help banks make the branch a physical manifestation of the digital experience. Equally crucial it will allow us to help banks reduce their distribution costs, typically by 30%, while still maintaining customer engagement.” commented Sushil Saluja, Accenture Senior Managing Director of Financial Services in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

This acquisition further strengthens Accenture’s Distribution Transformation offering, which takes a comprehensive view on how banks interact with its customers including branch re-invention and digitization. This will help banks transform physical structures at scale within a sustainable cost structure without losing customer engagement by delivering a seamless, cross-channel experience consumers increasingly expect.

It will also allow banks to ensure they have the appropriate digital capabilities to absorb higher volumes as customers shift to using digital over branches. Combining Accenture’s deep financial services, distribution and marketing expertise and scalability with Allen International’s digital and physical banking experience will enable banks across Europe to strategically optimize branch networks.

While consumers increasingly prefer to engage with their bank via digital channels, there is still a need for branches, with nearly 70%* using them for important financial decision making. Branches also still play a key role in brand positioning for banks and are seen as vital in building customer trust despite lower usage. When switching banks customers give greatest consideration to a ‘phygital’ bank model that offers the right blend of branch and digital services.

The rise of digital adoption makes current branch formats and networks unsustainable in the long-term and in spite of customer migration, banks are yet to capitalise on potential efficiencies in their branch networks. Challenger banks with low run costs and pure digital players building physical presence are posing a threat to banks customer retention and future revenue plans.

“Our work with over 350 banks globally to re-invent branch strategies and structures has helped them to address these evolving challenges and significantly grow bank revenues, while increasing customer satisfaction by 20% and significantly reducing the cost to serve, cutting refurbishment costs significantly,” said Michael Allen, founder and group CEO of Allen International.

“Joining Accenture offers us the scale and complementary skills and expertise to continue to help banks realise these significant benefits at a time when there is no choice but to bring branches into the digital age.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

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