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Nancy Feig
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Retail Banking: I'm Bringing Branching Back

By Nancy Feig

By Nancy FeigAs much as banks like to push customers to automated and cheaper methods of interaction like Internet banking and ATMs, they still recognize that face-to-face interaction with customers is the most successful method for closing sales with high-value customers. So, that takes us back to the branch.

These days, branch innovation comes in the form of moving routine, everyday transactions to automated channels and freeing up branch staff to handle more personal, targeted sales (for the customers who make it worth their time (read: affluent).

While many customers now perform the majority of their banking online, many still visit the branch. However infrequent those visits may be, they still are the only times that customers will meet flesh and blood bank employees. A bad experience in the branch has the ability to taint a customer's entire relationship across all channels.

However, its not just training tellers to smile and be helpful that will set your branches up for success.

A recent report from Gartner, "Bank Branch Scenario, 2006-2010," by Graham Taylor uncovers the ways banks are going to have to change their branches to meet the needs of today's customers(Gartner Analysts will discuss the future of the branch at Gartner's Financial Services Technology Summitt.)

"Future branches will definitely have to be supported by new technologies, but large banks with thousands of branches must choose technologies carefully to avoid expensive mistakes," Taylor writes.

As we all have heard, the customer experience is what is going to separate the men from the boys in the financial services market of the future. The ability to deliver a unique and pleasant experience at the branch level is becoming more and more important and new technologies from kiosks, to RFID, to VoIP, will enable that kind of experience.

As banks struggle to achieve organic growth, the will rely on their branches to be the human aspect of their multichannel strategies.

Here at Bank Systems & Technology we aim to bring the tops minds in the Retail Banking business together to discuss what's going on in their branches. Our Maximizing Retail/Channel Performance Executive Roundtable will explore how the branch is evolving to meet the needs of today's customer.

Curious to learn what kinds of investments in branch technologies make sense? On the morning of July 25, representatives from some of the top banks will meet for this off-the-record peer group to share their ideas about the future of in-branch technology.

Participants in this Executive Roundtable meeting will explore opportunities and challenges related to: • New technologies to measure branch performance. • The next wave of branch automation, including self-service kiosks, banking stations, etc. • Using technology to choose optimum branch location. • Targeted electronic marketing for real-time marketing in the branch. • Using checkbooks and cards with RFID technology to recognize customer visits to the branch. • The importance of the branch experience for customer loyalty and retention. • Branch personnel issues, including teller management.

To gain a seat at this exclusive roundtable, register today.

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