The New Retail Bank Branch: Innovation or Merely Renovation?
Much press coverage has been devoted to the emerging dominance of online and mobile banking channels—and how those methods seem to almost render obsolete the need for a cost-heavy physical bank branch network. Yet 90% of millennials choose a bank with location convenience in mind, and a majority of retail bank customers still visit a branch at least every six months. Such evidence highlights the importance of maintaining a bricks-and-mortar presence and innovating the in-branch experience to entice both existing and future customers.
Disappointingly, much of what’s touted by retail banks themselves as “innovation” is merely the repackaging of digital channels on an in-branch iPad or minor advancements of existing technology (e.g., contactless ATMs, video tellers, WiFi). In fact, physical “improvements” such as scaling back waiting spaces and removing teller areas serve only to create cramped conditions—and the impression that jobs are being eradicated and personal contact deprioritized.
So what does it take to envision a truly innovative, interactive, future-thinking physical space? How can retail banks push boundaries to create a novel branch experience for customers and clients?
In Defense of the Open Office: Work Environments That Are Critical to FinTech Success
FinTech Comes to Fruition
The financial sector has, historically, been resistant to change—largely a byproduct of risk aversion and the economic and legal pressures of regulatory compliance. But over the past decade, this entrenched inertia has been upended by post-recessionary survivalism and the rise of FinTech, an abbreviation for “Financial Technology”.
The term “FinTech” was initially coined to describe the technologies leveraged by financial institutions’ back office teams. However, over the years the definition has broadened to include:
• Established financial institutions that have adroitly responded to today’s digital world
• Silo-crossing startups that partner with such institutions
• Neophytes attempting to disrupt incumbents by developing products and services outside the realm of regulation
• Technology companies providing relevant tools or support to the financial industry
This paper predominately focuses on the first grouping noted above:
longstanding financial-service companies that have overhauled their business models and work processes in an effort to become technologically current and digitally optimized.