On Monday, December 3 in Austin, Adrenaline’s President & CEO, Sean Keathley, and Chief Experience Officer, Gina Bleedorn, presented at Future Branches, the financial industry’s conference of record for banking and credit union branch innovators and pacesetters. In 'How to Optimize & Transform Your Branch Network in an Increasingly Digital World', Sean and Gina built upon the North Star approach, a constantly-evolving guiding principle to create the ideal embodiment of the branch experience. With expectations and competition from every corner, a bank’s North Star must constantly assess and adapt to internal and external forces of change.
Sean Keathley describes change as a universal challenge. He says, “I think the idea of what to do with your distribution of physical branches in banking is something that’s on everyone's mind. From a U.S. bank with thousands of branches all the way down to a community bank with a handful of locations, we are watching an entire industry in the midst of a transformation. But change doesn’t happen overnight and there are transitions that are vital to consider.” Whether it’s new technologies, customer expectations or a changing competitive landscape, it’s tempting to focus on the external forces of change facing banking, but it’s the internal forces of change that can be even more daunting.
With mergers, market expansion, network renovation, critical upgrades, branding, staffing and cultural initiatives, the internal forces of change require bankers to pull together many more departments and disciplines to forward change. Gina Bleedorn talks about the North Star in practical terms. She says, “We wanted to impress upon people that the North Star is not just a future state. It’s here and now. It's not a single location, but it's an array of formats. How any bank addresses these internal forces of change is by assessing the purpose of branch formats. To forward needed change, banks are balancing efficiency or cost and experience. How do I get the best experience possible with the least amount of spend?”
As Future Branches concludes its third year, Sean says, “This conference was created to address the ‘branch of the future’ and I think how we’ve contributed to this vital conversation is that we’ve really spearheaded a discussion over the fact that the future never arrives. That’s what the North Star is all about and why it’s such an important vehicle for helping bank brands begin to usher in change.” In our upcoming article on the evolution of banking and financial services, we will address our most popular concepts unveiled at Future Branches – strategically approaching tiers of transformation for environments and the types of enhancement opportunities for the physical channel.