Branch Visits on the Decline? Blame Mobile Banking & ATMs

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WF Neighborhood Branch

Today’s financial institutions are ?reacting fast to banking trends and customer expectations of convenience and access. Ironically, for banks like Wells Fargo this means severely cutting down on physical presence. Not just the big boys are worried about perpetuating outdated services; regional banks and credit unions?are also reevaluating their offerings.

All signs point to digital. Customers just aren’t interested in being limited to bank hours and locations anymore – they want self-service banking on their terms.

The numbers aren’t lying. Customers are transitioning to digital platforms – Jim Simpson,?Senior VP and Chief Technology Officer at City Bank Texas

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UFCU’s Enhanced ATM

Influencing bank technology at every turn is critical in new age banking. Earlier this year, Wells Fargo built an?experimental WF branch?in DC that operates in one-third the space of a normal branch, and about 90% of the space is accessible to consumers – all made possible by removing excessive offices and teller windows. Instead of standing in line, customers are greeted by roaming tellers with Surface tablets eager to make their transaction on enhanced ATM stations. This mini-branch model proved to be not only efficient, but also very effective. More financial institutions like University Federal Credit Union are already using this banking model in full swing.

“As justifying the cost of physical branches becomes increasingly challenging in a digital world, other banks are also experimenting with smaller footprints”?- Mary Wisniewski,?Bank Technology News

Where is everybody???

There’s no denying that traffic inside branches is slowing, but now even drive-through tellers are feeling the impact of digital banking. Bank of America just announced they will be cutting down the amount of branch drive-throughs in some areas. B of A’s spokesperson commented, “In July, 13 million Bank of America customers used their smartphones to deposit an average of 160,000 checks per day. In addition, half of our deposits are made at ATMs.” With half your business being done outside the branch, why waste resources? Ultimately, people prefer using their mobile banking app or ATMs to do what they need to.

?As consumers increasingly use self-service channels from wherever they wish, financial institutions are re-imagining their physical footprints, including drive-ups, to adjust.? ? Mary Wisniewski,?Bank Technology News

Rest assured most branches won’t be closing their doors anytime soon, but the value of digital services like mobile banking reach much farther than any physical location a bank can provide.

48% of smartphone users have used their mobile banking app in the past year ??Federal Reserve

NMAG1112_FinanceThis should come as great news for financial institutions with less physical presence such as the regional bank and credit union. Customers want to bank in their car, from home, at the coffee shop, watching their child’s soccer game. No offense, but they are less concerned with driving to your branch. The community bank and credit union can continue to satisfy customer needs, and compete with the larger banks?- all made possible through their mobile banking app.