There has been a lot of speculation in the banking industry about what branches will look like in the future, or even if they will exist in any capacity.
Will tellers be replaced by smart ATMS? Will customers interact with a loan officer entirely via video conference? Will there even be a physical branch location?
These are just a few of the theories bandied about regarding the future of the branch, and banks in general. But for some bank customers in Poland, the future is now.
Polish Alior Bank unveiled its concept of the first digital bank, replete with Facebook payments, PFM tools and an "entertainment area."
According to published reports, Alior's virtual branches can be accessed through it's website, and are marketed towards younger, tech savvy consumers. The site shows the customer how many employees are available to chat -- either by video, audio or text -- who can help them complete a transaction. Other interesting features of the digital bank include the ability to send p2p payments through Facebook and the aforementioned entertainment area, where users can watch films, listen to music and play games.
Is this the branch of the future? I'm curious to see how well this concept takes hold. There are obviously large segments of the customer base that has no interest in entertainment areas and Facebook payments. But it's still interesting nonetheless. Be on the lookout for the upcoming July issue of Bank Systems & Technology, where we explore the "bank of the future" concept in greater detail.