Rethinking The Branch
ARCA Expert Mike Mares
Hey, I am Mike Mares with ARCA, and I've attempted to draw here on the whiteboard what hopefully looks a lot like your branches that you have, or work in today. Probably 80, 90% of the creating a bank branches out there look a lot like this. And today, we wanted to talk about how some financial institutions are beginning to rethink the way that they have their branches laid out and designed.
And I think a big driver behind that is, we've got a whole new world of delivery channels that are available today -- personal teller machines, and full function ATMs, and mobile banking, and online banking. And what's happening is that the traditional transactions that are done in a branch are declining across the country.
People aren’t coming in on the first of the month and on Social Security day and cashing checks like they used to. So, what financial institutions are struggling with is, how do we rethink ourselves and how do we better address the needs of our customers and members?
And one of those ideas is the universal banker concept that financial institutions have talked about for decades, of not having real definitions around tellers, and loan officers, and new accounts people. But the current set up of a branch today doesn't really lend itself to that. I mean, it's kind of like the TV show, "Get Smart" get him a teller you have to go through three locked doors. You've got these traditional teller lines. And so, the idea is that's really hard for staff to move through the branch and do different roles.
In addition to that, you've got a labor force that is all geared towards being highly specialized, and people that are really good at handling cash, or a variety of different things. So, our intent here is to talk about what could be different. What could you do to rethink yourselves?
So, the first idea is when you look at our traditional teller line, how do you change it, how does it evolve? How does it become different? One idea is, what if the confines of a traditional teller line are no longer like they use to be, where staff can now freely move back and forth into the lobby behind the teller line? What if they could also make their way over to a new accounts desk, or over to a lending desk?
The idea here is, how do we allow people to get close to this universal banker idea, and how do you make your staff more efficient, where they are not dedicated doing things like cashing checks, or simply doing new accounts? I mean, you could also put a gaping hole in the middle of your teller line, and maybe where you do paying and receiving transaction, it looks more like this, and staff are able to now freely move, greet people at the door, do a variety of different things.
And obviously at ARCA we get involved in a lot of cash automation projects. So, what if you automate your cash and you no longer have the need for a vault? You no longer had the need for traditional teller line hoods that are there for security purpose, and now your branch looked a bit more like that. And because of the operational efficiencies of all of this, it really changes the way you do things. We even have some financial institutions out there that literally at non-peak times and days, they will take his cue line ropes -- and obviously there's no one in line in those times -- and they will literally take their cue line ropes and close their teller line. So, the idea is when somebody walks in, they're able to be greeted. And every transaction is handled over here, where it's a much more high value interaction.
So, people are really thinking about these different ideas and ways to serve their customers and their members more effectively. But opening the branch up, considering things like cash automation and universal banker concepts might be something you want to look at.