Status Quo? Or Grow?

Yesterday I attended Celent’s webinar, “Emerging Technologies in Retail Banking”. The webinar presented the results of Celent’s research into what banks are doing – and plan to do – with technology in relationship to their growth, sales, and service.

A lot of great information was presented. Here’s a few takeaways:

The big banks are blazing ahead of the community banks.
Not too much of a surprise, as the big guys are going to have resources that the little guys don’t. That said, technology has the potential to be a great equalizer – traditional branches are costly to maintain, while technology can allow community banks to broaden their offerings and reach.

Despite technology growth – and demand – the branch still reigns supreme.
40% of banks ranked the branch as their most important delivery channel. This is despite a decline in branch use, and an expected continued decline among those surveyed.

Why is this? This wasn’t addressed in the webinar, but Celent’s Bob Meara did stress that the “status quo” in the branch channel isn’t sustainable, and redesigns at the branch level increasingly focus on sales support and service, and less on transactions. New branches also need to be smaller, more automated, and less costly.

Community banks need to catch up with the big banks in mobile.
Over 80% of big banks ($50B+) have mobile apps for iPhone and/or Android, while among smaller banks the average hovers around 50% (it’s also worth noting here that Meara warned attendees that the survey did bias slightly to technology adopters – so that true number is likely lower). As is often the case in banking, many are taking the safe route and don’t feel that can justify the ROI for a mobile app – but while these banks “wait and see”, will they be left behind?

Retail banking is a big part of the growth picture. Bank Director’s upcoming Growth Conference in New Orleans will explore strategies, tactics, products, and more.

Is checking a doomed dinosaur?

I love reading how Perkstreet Financial is using social media successfully (and it looks like I’m wrong – some banks can use Pinterest).

Bank Director’s Risk event is this Thursday – if you’re on Twitter, follow #Risk2012.



    • I think there’s room for both more than one channel, even with smaller banks; the branch is still going to be around for quite some time. I agree with the thought in the Celent webinar that the branch’s is changing (more sales & service vs. transactional, i.e. you don’t want to talk through mortgage details via an app – but it’s super easy to transfer funds that way).

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