Mercator Blog

Viewing Banking Channels from an Entirely New Perspective
Date: November 14, 2013
Ed O'Brien
Director, Banking Channels Advisory Service
As we look at advancements in today’s banking channels, we are seeing significant enhancements in the way channels are presented to banking customers and credit union members and an occasional juggling of roles. We are seeing a tweaking of the traditionally full-service branch channel and the previously exclusive self-service model.

These branch business models can now include elements of self-service and assisted-service with the use of kiosks and ATM-like devices in some teller lines, with the self-service models (like ATMs) now being able to interoperate with tellers and contact center personnel via video feeds and live chat.

Financial institutions are increasingly evaluating emerging branch models and branch configurations such as hub-and-spoke branch configurations that include standard, mini, and in some cases, flagship branches. With such a model, financial institutions can equip branches with both live and remote tellers to help customers and members throughout a market.

In addition, by leveraging newer technologies such as intelligent deposit/deposit automation ATMs, video-enabled ATMs, personal teller machines, kiosks, and tablets to assist customers, some financial institutions can now offer improved service more efficiently and effectively than ever before, up to and including 24/7 service.

Today’s emerging hybrid self- and assisted-service business models can meet consumer demand for any-time, anywhere banking access and convenience with the expertise that only staff can provide. The newly implemented technologies are not the only evolving channels of advice and service being used by financial institutions.

Tools designed for use by branch personnel like teller automation improve face time between the bank and the customer, enhancing the relationship. Financial institutions are now extending the “branch” environment beyond the brick and mortar state thanks to technologies like teleconferencing, so that contact and support centers are now close to the front line.

Within these changing branch configurations are new opportunities to reach promising, highly profitable clients cost effectively, including extensions into such areas as wealth management and small business banking. Whether servicing customers at a flagship branch, a traditional branch, a mini-branch, or via virtual or self-service interactions, banks and credit unions can be available 24/7 to meet—and hopefully exceed— overall customer and member needs.