10:05 AM
Jim Weaks, Cummins Allison
Jim Weaks, Cummins Allison

A Crucial Strategy for Bank Branches in 2014

Banks can improve the in-branch and omni-channel experience using new technologies.

One of the defining characteristics of the banking industry this year is the fact that the growth of digital technology has had a profound impact on the branch experience. As more organizations offer tools that make it easier for individuals to remotely access basic services, many banks may wonder whether a physical presence in local communities even matters anymore.

However, as recent studies confirm, the branch is not dead yet. In fact, a majority of bank customers expect to visit their branch just as often – or even more frequently – in five years’ time. The key is finding an effective way to adapt to these new industry trends, and investments in customer-facing technology such as self-service coin counters can be crucial as retail bank branches plan for success in 2014.

Contrary to what many may believe; the answer to recent developments in digital technology doesn’t mean gradual closure of the in-person branch. Banks have a better chance at increasing revenue by creating a dynamic, integrated experience across all channels; which will lead to greater success in the long run.

Jim Weaks, Cummins Allison
Jim Weaks, Cummins Allison

For this reason, Celent Research predicts that North American banks’ IT spending will grow to $59.5 billion in 2014, and much of that growth will be in retail banking, with focus on enhancements to the user experience and omni-channel sales and service endeavors.

As banks focus on achieving a true omni-channel experience, it’s critical that they offer solutions which drive more foot traffic into their local branches. Offering access to self-service coin counting machines is an effective way to target non-customers and promote valuable interactions with current customers, as turning loose change into cash is one process that simply cannot be completed as an online service.

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Research has shown that 80 percent of U.S. households hold on to coins they receive from cash transactions. Sixty-four percent of these coin savers seek out financial institutions as a first line of defense when redeeming this money in the form of cash. Branch managers can use self-service coin counters as a central element of their long-term growth strategies; once inside the bank, customers are more likely to become interested in additional services.

Simplicity is an important concept in the financial services industry. Money is often a complicated issue, and the more banks are able to make certain tasks easier, the more likely it is they will be able to retain customers for longer periods of time. Many customers appreciate the ability to perform simple tasks such as converting collected change into cash without the help of a teller.

And, self-service coin machines are an offering customers truly want. In a recent study, 80% of respondents reported they would switch from a teller to a self-service coin machine and believe their satisfaction would measurably increase as a result, with many indicating they would use the machine “all the time”.

To succeed in 2014, banks must be careful not to ignore the impact the branch can have on customer satisfaction levels. Investment into technology such as self-service coin counters can serve as the backbone of these branch-based initiatives.

Jim Weaks is vice president and business unit manager of the self-service coin business unit at Cummins Allison is a currency, check and coin counting solutions provider.

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