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Published: May 06 2015

The Transformation of the Bank Branch

Headlines tell us a conflicting story about the state of bank branches in the financial industry. Some complain that banks are not closing branches fast enough, while others warn banks against closing their branches just yet.

So, which is it?

Advancing Technologies

With the ability to conduct many bank transactions via mobile apps and over the web, we are all taking advantage and using the physical bank branch much differently. In fact, one in three people have not walked into a bank branch in the past six months, according to a survey by Bankrate. Why should they? With new technology, many basic functions—like checking a balance, making a deposit or transferring funds between accounts—are at our fingertips with online accounts.

As a result, bank branches have transformed to cater to more challenging banking needs, such as the opening of accounts or financial advice. This change has not only driven the way that banks are servings their customers, but it is influenced their strategy in designing and utilizing their physical locations.

Teller stations have been renovated into self-service kiosks, in-person meeting areas have become more private spaces and the customer experience has become even more of a focus, with banks leveraging technology to create a truly interactive and pleasurable experience.

Facility Challenges

For facility teams, this inevitably creates challenges. Of course, there is the management of the renovation and construction process to create modernized branches. Because the focus now centers on the customer’s experience, however, there is an emphasis on tackling challenges in real-time. Any disruptions must be handled as fast as possible to ensure the consumer atmosphere as a whole does not suffer.

These changes are taking many different forms. While many branches shrink in size, there are others that are growing. The average size of a bank branch currently trends toward around 3,000 square feet, but bigger spaces—as large as 8,500 square feet—are still being leveraged by banks.

Managing the disparate sizes and service offerings within each facility adds complexity for the facility team, as they no longer have the streamlined layouts and offerings of the past.

Supporting the Future

As we continue to watch bank branches transform, facility teams need to change their processes at the same rate—or even faster. Centralizing data in a single source through automated facility management software serves as one big step in the process. Since each bank’s projects may vary, requiring the standardization of operating procedures and adoption of service-level agreements will keep these transformations efficient despite their individual challenges.

On a more strategic level, in order to align with business goals and the future of the organization, facility teams should be key contributors in the conversation about bank branch transformation. The customer’s expectations may be changing, but banks will continue to strive for delivering a world-class experience.

As bank branches transform to become more strategic for organizations, the facility team that supports them must also do the same.

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