Allpoint Blog

The Evolving Role of the Bank Branch and Its People

(Editor’s Note:  This is the second installment in a three-part series on the transformation of the banking industry and its impact on ATMs. Click the link to read Part 1.)

In our previous installment, we discussed that banks are closing scores of branches as they tighten their belts. In fact, industry officials estimate that half of the nation’s 93,200 branches could disappear within a decade. This cutback won’t eliminate bank tellers (just like autonomous cars won’t end the need for Uber drivers), but it will transform how they and other bank staff do their jobs.

A bank’s success will hinge on tellers and others focusing on relationships with customers, not transactions. This is especially true as consumers continue to visit branches less frequently and prefer to do more of their banking online, through a mobile device or via ATMs and automated attendants to complete small tasks. It’s faster and more convenient.

To offset this trend, bank tellers and other staff are beginning to provide a broader range of services beyond routine transactions. At First Citizens National Bank of Dyersburg, Tenn., tellers today are viewed as “the bank.” First Citizens empowers them to provide advice, be a financial counselor and offer other non-traditional services. It employs a comprehensive education program that trains tellers to be “financial experience” specialists. It also recognizes when they deliver broader personalized services to their customers.

Banks expect further shifts in how customers handle their money needs as it pertains to foot traffic to their branches and the use of ATMs.  For example, mobile banking in 2015 outpaced branch banking, according to JAVELIN, a financial research firm.

As for ATMs, banks recognize that demand for convenient access to cash continues to grow. In 2016, Mercator Advisory Group research found that consumers, specifically young adults and those who are highly mobile, rely on ATMs for a variety of services including to cash checks and withdraw money. This reflects an increased use of cash by consumers. In fact, 89 percent of consumers report having used cash in the last six months, according to Cardtronics’ most recent Health of Cash Study.

Consequently, a growing number of banks are reconfiguring how they deliver cash access in a way that caters to customers’ demand for convenience to help satisfy consumers’ growing desire for cash. In 2016, for example, five of the top 25 U.S. retail banks joined Cardtronics’ Allpoint ATM network, the world’s largest surcharge-free ATM network with over 55,000 ATMs, and the trend is expected to continue.

Customers favor the conversion of the bank branch into a center that manages relationships.  A recent Cognizant report found that 58 percent of consumers use branches to get advice, with 36 percent of those doing so because of safety and security concerns, and 35 percent prefer in-person contact. Branch tellers and other staff are adding value to customers’ overall banking needs by strengthening the in-branch experience.

In our next installment, we’ll discuss the role of the ATM in the banking industry transformation. 

Brad Nolan
Executive Vice President, Global Product & Marketing

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