The top five UK banks have closed an estimated 1,700 bank branches in the past 5 years, but customer demand for face-to-face services remains high. Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer to talk to someone in person when making a big financial decision, with half of mortgages customers wanting to visit a branch. Despite pressures to cut costs, traditional banks should not simply close branches, according to the Business Process Outsourcer, Intelenet® Global Services. Instead, they must consider ways to maximise their adviser networks, utilising next-generation technologies to transform the nature of the branch.
One of these innovations is an Uber-like scheduling tool that is currently being used to manage roaming nurse teams in the US and is being explored for its application in the banking sector. Radius™, which enables companies to allocate mobile teams to nearby appointments, has the potential to transform the banking business model for face-to-face interaction.
Bhupender Singh, CEO of Intelenet® Global Services, says: “We are excited about the possibilities that Radius™ offers to modernise the branch banking model. Empowering banks to connect roaming advisers to nearby customers when and where they are needed, the tool would ensure the ongoing provision of an in-person service. With just the help of a simple mobile app, the costly outlay of a high-street branch network could be sidestepped without reducing customer service.
“In general, the past years have seen the explosion of online banking services, many of which are completed without any human interaction. Unfortunately, some customer segments are being left behind by this shift, and the majority of consumers, ranging across demographics, still crave a face-to-face service when making major financial decisions.
“Some challenger banks are bucking the trend, finding success by combining technology which improves the speed of their service, with efforts to build a high-street branch network. One of our UK projects with a top six mortgage provider resulted in a reduction in mortgage approval time from 11 days to 48 hours. This has enabled them to make the back-office savings which can be redirected to the front-end of customer service.
“Yet there are bigger changes that can and should be made when it comes to the traditional model of branch banking – and we believe that technological innovations such as Radius™ have a lot of potential answers.”