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Business Strategy

Thinking Outside the Branch to Serve Accountholders Anytime, Anywhere

Phyllis Chappell
Jan 12, 2023

One of the biggest challenges financial institutions face today is finding innovative ways to attract and retain new customers and members.

Some of that can be blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic. Most community and regional banks and credit unions were almost completely unprepared for the economic havoc the pandemic created in the industry. In fact, many financial institutions were forced to shut down branches. In 2020 – at the height of the pandemic – 3,342 branches closed across the country, setting a new record. In 2021, that previous record was shattered: nearly 4,000 U.S. bank branches closed.

Despite these widespread closures, a recent digital banking survey from Forbes Advisor shows that more than a quarter of Americans (29%) still prefer to do their banking at a branch. That’s because in a branch, accountholders can engage with staff to ask questions and seek advice ‒ and they’re more likely to trust the information and feedback they receive because it’s personalized. 

The steady, ongoing disappearance of traditional financial institution branches – coupled with modern consumers’ increasing reliance on digital banking – creates a dilemma for banks and credit unions that pride themselves on building personal relationships: how can they continue to attract and retain accountholders in a financial environment that has permanently changed?

Adaptability Is Key

For traditional financial institutions, the days of thriving on branch strategy alone are officially over.

Many banking activities that previously could only be done inside a branch – like opening a checking or savings account, depositing checks, or applying for a loan – can now be completed online. Consumers can accomplish almost all their financial needs digitally and in real time – and there’s no going back to the way things used to be.

Banks and credit unions with adaptable technology are the ones that are best suited to meet the changing needs of their accountholders. But embracing the future of banking doesn’t necessarily mean closing every branch. Improving your business operations simply means you must make some adjustments.

If the majority of your accountholders aren’t stepping foot inside a branch anymore, it’s up to you to meet them where they are. You must leverage technology to take your in-branch service – the personal, face-to-face interactions accountholders still value and appreciate – outside your physical location. 

The Mobile Branch: Digital Banking Meets Personal Service

To improve bank branch performance, you can position your financial institution as a forward-thinking, progressive, and competitive leader by utilizing a mobile branch solution – an enterprise mobile strategy and application solution for your employees that converts tablets and smartphones into new channels for your associates and allows them to serve your accountholders more efficiently and conveniently.

A mobile branch leverages technology that gives your staff members a direct connection to your institution’s core processes – anytime, anywhere. Your employees have secure access to the latest accountholder data and can acquire and serve accountholders no matter where they are.

Employees can take their core-connected device outside the branch to bring the face-to-face, in-branch experience to your customers and members, wherever they happen to be: at a business organization or university events, trade shows, hotel conference rooms, or private meetings on-site at corporate offices, retail store locations, and medical facilities.

Digital Service with an Interactive, Human Element

Conducting business outside a branch location doesn’t have to mean a lack of personal service. With a mobile banking solution, your employees can essentially leave the branch and take your bank or credit union with them – right into the communities you serve.

Your staff can give your accountholders the personal, private service they’d get inside a branch – but with a more visual, interactive, and efficient process and the added convenience of digital banking.

Your employees can:  

  • Enroll accountholders on the spot for products and services.
  • Assist current and potential accountholders with loan and deposit account applications.
  • Review transaction history, statements, and other documents.
  • Perform routine account maintenance.
  • Take photos, capture electronic signatures, and scan documents.
  • Use installed email, phone, and map apps to easily contact and connect with accountholders.

Give the People What They Want

Today’s consumers value simplicity in all of their interactions. And whether that’s shopping online or conducting financial transactions, they expect the process to be secure, seamless, and simple.

For community and regional banks and credit unions, giving your accountholders what they want means meeting them where they are – whether that’s inside a branch office, in an outdoor café, or beneath the big top at a community fair.

With a mobile banking solution, you can give your accountholders a high-quality, convenient, and efficient banking experience that isn’t tied to a desk or teller window inside a branch.

A mobile branch is the perfect blend of digital technology and personal service – and it can help you attract and retain accountholders in a constantly-changing banking environment.

Learn more about expanding your branch operations to serve accountholders.



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