Are banks ready for new technology?

Technology is taking over the financial services industry, but are banks ready for the change?

New tools like Internet-connected ATMs, mobile devices, teller pods and other trends are catching on, and the convenience of digital banking and in-branch technology has certainly grown on consumers.

So then, the question is not whether technology will take hold, but if banks can adapt fast enough to meet with the rising consumer demand - all while balancing speed, security, cost and regulations.

Banks have narrow tech focus
A recent report from Bain and Company highlighted the growing desire of consumers to bank as they please. For example, using smartphones and other mobile devices to perform simple transactions can heighten convenience.

"What can your bank do to implement new technology?"

What the Bain and Company report noted, however, was that banks have taken a narrow approach to adapting to the new technology. They focus mainly on online and mobile channels, with less of an emphasis on broader, convenient, easy and engaging services. The goal shouldn't just be to use technology, but to create a seamless banking system that leverages technology to improve the customer experience.

One example of this is improved cash handling. Many tellers today have to count, move and deposit large quantities of cash. Not only is this insecure, but it is also time consuming. Technology like cash recyclers can simplify that process and free up tellers for more customer-service related duties.

Banking undergoes a change
Technology is set to revolutionize banking, especially the brick-and-mortar branch, but it is not going to replace it. On the contrary, consumers will come to rely on their bank employees for more specialized knowledge and guidance moving forward.

If banks want to be ready to implement new technology, they have to be prepared to alter their current systems. One instance is the universal banker model, where instead of dedicated "tellers" or "bankers" branches have employees well-versed in a wide range of services. 

Another option is the teller pod, where instead of a row of tellers, branches have a pod-centric design that is a more relaxed and amenable consumer experience. Technology will play a key role in all of these changes. Having the right tools, like cash recyclers, smart ATMs and well-trained employees, can make the implementation of new technology easier and keep the focus on the customer.