Wednesday, July 31, 2019 – The hot-button issue in consumer banking over the last few years – branch versus digital banking – is diverting attention away from the very issue that started the discussion in the first place: consumer choice. This divide, illuminated in the new article “Customer Experience Dominates the Branch vs. Digital Banking Debate” in The Financial Brand, is causing some bankers to be unable to see the forest for the trees, while others are rising to the challenge.
According to Sean Keathley, President & CEO of Adrenaline, what really matters here – regardless of channel – is the consumer experience. In the article, he highlights retail brands that appreciate the consumer journey and facilitate consumers traversing from digital to physical. So much so that digital-only banks like Varo and Chime are accommodating cash deposits – which require a physical presence – via Green Dot merchants. It’s all about understanding and responding to the needs of the customer.
Describing how retail banks with a physical branch channel are making the most of it by deepening relationships, Sean says, “Financial institutions have never been able to know more about the consumer as now. Banks and credit unions have the ability to be more bespoke around how they serve a product and create more community-minded, thematic and curated elements in branches that fit market demographics.”
Even when retail banks are ramping up their digital channels and competing toe-to-toe with the banking giants both online and in-branch, they aren’t going to abandon their focus on relationships and community. When done right, it’s one of their biggest assets. “If average-size banks are going to take on the big guys without all of the resources,” Keathley says, “their brand has to be unimpeachably authentic, local and community-minded.”
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