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News

We will visit bank branches in the 21st century; it is very well possible that more happily than today

2.03.2017
Company: Komerční banka, a.s.

The advent of virtual banking has significantly changed the wayin which we communicate with banks. Businesses and firms now arrange for basic products online, and execute everyday banking operations without having to visit their banker. Does this mean that bank branches will disappear from the streets of towns and cities, as have telephone booths, and relationship managers will talk to each other rather than with their clients, to prevent dying of boredom? I don´t think so, branches will be still a key channel in relation to small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Over the last ten years, the role of branches has changed profoundly. While in the past, clients’ main requirements included cash operations and money transfers, today [the branch] is the key channel for advice, sales, and servicing of more complex products such as mortgage loans and investments.

After all, a bank is also a merchant who has to communicate with its clients. They like to use the mobile and the internet, but online channels are not suitable for all types of service. Advice is also a part of products with a higher added value. Relationship managers will be actual advisers for their clients. They will no longer arrange products only. On the contrary, they will focus on understanding the clients’ business and their needs and plans and on being able to recommend the right service. Modern branches and contacts in person are simply more suitable for such understanding.

Banks must provide advisory services at an adequate professional standard and in an appropriate environment: comfortable, while offering privacy. Traditional banks’ branches no longer keep in synch with the latest trends. It is true that investments in their modernisation are not discussed so much as those in electronic banking platforms. But branches also have to be modernised on an ongoing basis: When refurbishing older branches and building new branches the focus needs to be on the ambience and the internal arrangement of the spaces. Thanks to this, at modernised branches clients receive faster service, they feel well there, and they like to visit them again.

The latest technology is not missing in the new branches: clients can connect their mobile devices via Wi-Fi, use tablets located in self-service zones, etc., and can arrange certain banking operations without any assistance provided by relationship managers. If something disappears, it will not be branches as such but things that bothered clients, such as waiting. Modern banking does not have to take place in smart phones only.

The advent of virtual banking has significantly changed the wayin which we communicate with banks. Businesses and firms now arrange for basic products online, and execute everyday banking operations without having to visit their banker. Does this mean that bank branches will disappear from the streets of towns and cities, as have telephone booths, and relationship managers will talk to each other rather than with their clients, to prevent dying of boredom? I don´t think so, branches will be still a key channel in relation to small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Tags: Finance | Business Development |

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