Notably Quotable: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Branches

Banking providers everywhere are wrestling with their retail branch strategy. Do people still want to visit physical locations? Should banks and credit continue investing in branch networks? What does the future hold? Here is what experts in the banking industry have to say.

Brick-and-Mortar Branch Strategies Are Dead

“Bankers need to face the reality that the physical branch is forever changed. We are never going back to some imagined Gold Age of banking.”

Alex Jiménez, Chief Strategy Officer at Extractable


“If you have ever said ‘but our branches will be our competitive advantage,’ you might as well sell the bank now. It is a flawed strategy that is about to get worse.”

Chris Nichols, Director of Capital Markets at SouthState Bank, N.A.


Branch closures are going to continue, and probably at a faster rate than new branches will open.”

Pete Reville, Director of Primary Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group


“In today’s era of unprecedented convenience and speed, consumers don’t want to have to trek to a physical bank branch to handle their transactions.”

Andrew Meola, Senior Director of Content Marketing at Insider Intelligence


“Physical banking is going the way of 8-track tapes, dial telephones and dodos.”

— Doug Tinning, Product Marketing Manager for TCS


“We were very conscious that the world needs less branches, and the shape of the branches [work] differently.”

Jamie Dimon, Chairman/CEO of JPMorgan Chase


“In a world with 6% net interest margins, banks can have all the branches they want. However, in an environment with sub 3% margins, banks can no longer afford an extensive bank network.”

Chris Nichols, Director of Capital Markets at SouthState Bank, N.A.


“Unless a traditional bank location can fiscally outperform online banking, they are a ‘dead bank walking’.”

Baron Christopher Hanson, Principal Consultant at RedBaronUSA


“[People] now prefer to bypass the branch visit. Many now view mandatory bank visits as a business-blocker.”

Zviki Ben Ishay, CEO of Lightico


“Can you close branches? If you have a branch network serving a market, the answer is likely ‘yes’.”

Jon Voorhees, Director of Distribution Strategy/Business Development at TerraStrat Group


“Today’s bank branch in its current form is a dying breed. It’s too focused on accomplishing basic transactions.”

Trevor Dryer, EVP/GM at CUNA Mutual Group


( Read More: Bank Branches Are Dead. Long Live the Branch! )

Branches Will Continue to Play a Crucial Role in the Retail Mix

“The demise of the bank branch has been predicted for years, but traditional branch networks are far from dead.”

EY Americas


“The U.S. is decades away from the bank branch becoming obsolete.”

Jamie Warder, EVP/Head of Digital Banking at KeyBank


“Although online banks are growing, traditional banking still reigns.”

Steven Nuckols, President/Founder of Compass Financial


“Many banking executives are reading too much into data and pivoting to digital-only. That’s a mistake. Banks shouldn’t abandon the branch, but instead refocus it.”

Oliwia Berdak, Vice President/Research Director for Forrester


“Are brick-and-mortar banks still relevant? Very much so.

Jeff Pflipsen, Owner/Partner at HTG Architects


Don’t close your branches — use them differently. Branches are not dead.”

FiWorks

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“Beware the rumors that the branch is dead. Many will determine that brick-and-mortar is an important part of the mix.”

Kyle Floyd, Principal of Stature Design at DD&F Consulting Group


“It is clear that branches are critical to a bank’s success. Banks must re-imagine the branch as a core channel to drive higher revenue and better customer relationships.”

Tushar Chitra, VP/Product Strategy & Marketing at Oracle Financial Services


“Reports on the death of bank branches are greatly exaggerated. New technologies, fintech competition and the evolving demands of modern consumers mean they’ll be smaller, more efficient and serve very different needs.”

Rishi Aurora, Managing Director of Financial Services at Accenture India


The role of the branch is changing, and as it becomes much more of an advice and problem-resolution center, the [quantity] and [locations] you need to have changes over time.”

Terry Dolan, CFO at U.S. Bank


“Branches will continue to serve a critical function in the future of banking.”

Rob Morgan, VP/Emerging Technologies at American Bankers Association


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Bricks or Clicks? The Answer Is ‘Both’

“Banks need to make sure there are channels — branches and digital — available for everyone, no matter their personal circumstance.”

Finextra


“The challenge for traditional banks is to bridge the online and offline experience, and be able to provide the same personal and seamless customer experience among all channels.”

Mark Van Zuklekom, Former Director at Esendex


“Now is not the time to be closing all your branches, nor is it the time to stop investing in them. Now is the time to enable branches to leverage digital channel traffic.”

Jon Voorhees, Director of Distribution Strategy/Business Development at TerraStrat Group


[People] expect their banking experience to be consistent — whether they’re calling, going online, using an app, or visiting a branch. If they start an interaction in branch, they expect to be able to finish it at home, or vice versa.”

Erika Hawker, Financial Services Expert at PA Consulting


“People want a brick-and-mortar experience that merges with the digital channel, and fits seamlessly into the way they manage their money.”

Jaime Dominguez, Director of Strategy/Retail Banking/Channels at Fiserv


“Merging physical and digital banking into one cohesive experience could have notable benefits. One recent study found that supporting omnichannel banking can double banks’ revenues.”

PYMNTS.com


“The most satisfied retail banking customers use both branch and digital services for personal banking.”

JD Power


“Human mixed with digital will be an important combination.”

Jamie Warder, EVP/Head of Digital Banking at KeyBank


“Traditional banks must optimize branch availability to meet the physical demand for convenience, [but they also] need digital solutions to allow customers to bank anywhere.”

JLL


“There is still a strong need for physical bank branches. Striking the balance between physical and digital is where the industry must come together.”

Matt Phillips, Diebold Nixdorf Vice President/Head of Financial Services UK & Ireland


Branch count doesn’t tell the whole story. It is the sum of all products and interactions — ATMs, digital adoption, branch visits — that now establish the primary bank relationship.”

PWC


The future of banking lies in branches and technology. Yes, customers are adopting digital banking. But the importance of having a branch in a convenient location is as important as ever as well.”

Paul Pester, CEO of TSB


Offer a mix of digital and personal experiences, make branch meetings easy, and your financial institution will be on the right track.”

FiWorks

( Read More: How People’s Changing Habits Will Impact the Future of Branch Banking )

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